Jordan says it is prepared to deal with any potential chemical weapon threat posed by the ongoing violence in neighboring Syria, but adds it will not enter "any alliance" to protect itself.
Jordan, the U.S. and others have expressed concern that Syrian President Bashar Assad could use chemical weapons in a last-ditch effort to save his regime.
Information Minister Sameeh Maaytah did not provide details on Jordan's capabilities to thwart a chemical attack in remarks carried by the official Petra news agency Sunday.
But other Jordanian officials have said U.S. and British military experts have provided training in protecting civilians in case of a chemical attack on Jordanian territory.
Maaytah also said the 21-month Syrian crisis has put enormous pressure on Jordan's infrastructure as it now hosts 275,000 refugees.
Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a secret meeting in Jordan with King Abdullah II, the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported.
Senior Israeli officials speaking to Haaretz confirmed last Wednesday that the meeting took place. According to the report, the meeting focused on the possibility that Syrian President Bashar Assad would use chemical weapons against rebels in the ongoing sectarian conflict raging in that country.
Journalist Jeffrey Goldberg reported in The Atlantic earlier this month that Israel has asked Jordan twice in the last two months for a green light to attack chemical weapons facilities in Syria.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has sent representatives of the Mossad intelligence agency to Amman twice already, to coordinate the matter with the Jordanians and receive their "permission" for the operation, Goldberg wrote.
The Jordanians, however, responded negatively to the request and refused to grant their approval. American officials quoted in the article said the Jordanians told Israel the "time was not right" for such an action.
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