Jordan and Israel in secret talks over Syria's chemical weapons
King Abdullah (L) and Binyamin Netanyahu (R).
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Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Jordan’s King Abdullah II have held secret talks in Amman to discuss Syria’s potential use of chemical weapons, Al Quds Al-Arabi reported on Wednesday.
The meeting has not been confirmed by the Israeli government, but local media in Israel quoted unnamed officials who confirmed the reports carried in Al Quds.
In recent weeks, fears have grown over the potential use of Syria’s chemical weapons. Russia, one of the few remaining allies of the Assad regime, said on December 22 that Syria was consolidating its chemical weapons stores in “one or two” places.
The United States has previously said that it considers that any use of such weapons by Assad’s security forces against the civilian population would constitute a “red line” and could force nations in to military action.
Israel, which occupies the Golan Heights, formerly part of Syria, has also warned against the use of chemical weapons and said that it could use military action if a chemical attack happened, fearing that the weapons could fall in to the hands of Hezbollah.
United Nations troops in the Occupied Golan Heights were issued with chemical kits earlier in December in case of such attacks.
Speak to Israeli Army Radio, Israel’s Vice President Moshe Yaalon said, "As things stand now, we do not have any confirmation or proof that (chemical weapons) have already been used, but we are definitely following events with concern," adding that he did not believe chemical weapons had yet been used in the 22-month civil war.
Jordan is one of only two country’s in the region to have signed a peace agreement with Israel, the other being Egypt. The accord between the two nations means that they often discuss security issues affecting the region, although these are usually announced publicly.