Hagel discusses chemical weapons, Syrian refugees with Jordanian officials

U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel visited Jordan on Tuesday to meet with Jordan's Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Marshal al-Zaben and Lieutenant General Prince Feisal.

Hagel, Feisal and al-Zaben discussed mutual concerns shared by the U.S. and Jordan related to the ongoing crisis in Syria. The two countries continue to consult closely on multiple issues, including chemical weapons and the challenges posed by the influx of Syrian refugees fleeing the violent conflict.

The Department of Defense provided Jordan with more than $70 million in 2013 to help secure its borders and prevent the transfer of chemical weapons.

Hagel praised Jordan on its decision to keep its borders open to Syrian refugees. Jordan is hosting approximately 500,000 refugees. The U.S. has provided more than $409 million in humanitarian assistance to Syrians affected by the violence and the DoD has given more than $1.2 million in goods directly through the Jordanian armed forces to help refugees coming across the border.

Hagel reaffirmed the closeness of the U.S.-Jordan strategic relationship and called Jordan one of the most important partners of the U.S. in the region. Hagel has sustained U.S. military personnel in Jordan to improve joint readiness, foster closer planning and prepare for various scenarios.