U.S.: objections to Iraq-Jordan border crossing “political”

US Ambassador to Iraq Douglas Silliman

Baghdad ( Objections to the operation of a vital border crossing between Iraq and Jordan are either “political” or “bureaucratic”, said the United States ambassador to Iraq on Thursday.

Douglas Silliman said in a press conference in the embassy that the rehabilitation of the Baghdad-Treibil international road is of a great importance for Jordan in terms of commercial exchange. He said an investment scheme set for the road would not cost the Iraqi government any expenses.

Alsumaria News quoted the ambassador saying that tolls would be collected from passing vehicles, which will return as revenues for the government in Baghdad. He noted that the government has the final word in proceeding with the investment project, and warning of financial difficulties should the government decide to carry out the scheme on its own given falling petroleum prices.

On Wednesday, Jordan’s Trade and Industry Ministery, Yarub Qudah, told Jordan’s AlGhad newspaper that the Treibil crossing has seen the passing of 250 cargo trucks since it was reopened in August.

Jordan and Iraq agreed to reopen the Treibil crossing last August after a closure that lasted for three years prompted by security instability with the emergence of Islamic State militants in Iraq. It stands as the only cross-border trade route between the two countries.

Baghdad and Amman had agreed to entrust security at the crossing to a foreign private company, but the move drew much criticism from some politicians.

The security duties were reportedly assigned to Olive Group, a private security firm. But in August, the Iraqi parliament asked for investigation after press reports claimed that Olive Group was a front for Blackwater, a private security company which Iraq dismissed via a parliament vote. The dismissal came after company agents had opened fire at a convoy of civilian vehicles in Baghdad’s al-Mansour district in September 2007, killing and wounding 41 people.


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