• Short Summary

    On the second day of his official visit to Jordan, which started on 20 January, the Saudi Minister of Defence, Prince Sultan Khalid Iben Aziz inspected Saudi troops stationed in Southern Jordan.

  • Description

    GV Saudi Minister listens to Thunderbolt Commander

    GV & SV Thunderbolt officers cross rope bridge (2 shots)

    SV Saudi Minister and others watch (2 shots)

    SV Member of Thunderbolts climb sheer wall and officials watch (3 shots)

    SV Thunderbolt officer points to members climbing down cliff face (3 shots)

    SV Prince Khalid watches display of unarmed combat (5 shots)

    SV Prince Khalid shakes hands with unit officers (4 shots)

    SV Minister addressing troops (3 shots)

    Initials BB/0110 FC/AS/BB/0056

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: On the second day of his official visit to Jordan, which started on 20 January, the Saudi Minister of Defence, Prince Sultan Khalid Iben Aziz inspected Saudi troops stationed in Southern Jordan. This special force, called Thunderbolt, has been there since the 1967 War with Israel. Jordanian officers have been helping in their training.

    Prince Khalid will be going to Washington shortly. And King Hussein of Jordan himself is due to there later. It is believed that he will seek more financial and military assistance, and Saudi Arabia has already played a mediating role between the Jordanian King and the United States. American military credits to Jordan are already above the GBP30 million (72 million U.S. dollars) mark.

    Jordan's relations with other Arab countries became very strained when King Hussein suppressed the Fedayeen in his territory three years ago, but have been steadily improving recently. Less than two months ago the King sent the chief of his royal cabinet to Cairo, and President Sadat responded by sending a special envoy to Amman. Al Ahram, the newspaper which reflects the views of the Egyptian government, reported on 21 January, that the Arab league Defence Council will discuss the possibility of renewing military cooperation between Jordan on the one hand, and Syria and Iraq on the other.

    SYNOPSIS: The Saudi Defence Minister, Prince Khalid, confers with the Commander of Thunderbolt.

    "Thunderbolt" is the name given to a special Saudi force stationed in Jordan since the 1967 War between Israelis and Arabs.

    The Minister saw military exercises and tactics, some of which have been learnt from Jordanian instructors.

    The Saudis and Jordanians have been closely cooperating, not only in military matters, but also in the diplomatic field. Because the Saudis enjoy particularly close relations with the United States, they have acted as intermediaries to secure greater American support for Jordan. Now Prince Khalid is going to Washington, soon to be followed by Jordan's King Hussein. Already Jordan has received over 72 million dollars in American military credits; King Hussein seeks more.

    Together with the Saudi forces in Jordan, there were once also troops from Syria and Iraq. Their combined power constituted the Eastern Front against Israel. But when, in 1970, King Hussein suppressed the Fedayeen in his territory, relations between him and some Arab states reached breaking-point. Iraqi and Syrian troops left Jordan...so far never to return. Now King Hussein wants improved relations with all fellow Arab states. He sent his chief cabinet Minister to Cairo, and President Sadat reciprocated by sending a special envoy to Amman. In addition the Egyptian paper Al Ahram, which reflects government attitudes there, says the question of Syrian and Iraqi troops in Jordan is about to be re-opened.

    The Arab League Defence Council has the matter on its agenda when it meets this week. Like Prince Khalid, other Arab Defence Ministers, may yet see troops in Jordan.

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