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Jordan willing to send Iraq troops

Jordan's King Abdullah has offered troops if Iraq's new government wants them.
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(CNN) -- King Abdullah of Jordan said Thursday he would be willing to send troops to Iraq if asked to do so by the country's new interim government.

"If the Iraqis ask us for help directly, it will be very difficult for us to say no," he told BBC's Newsnight. "And my message to the president and to the prime minister is: tell us what you want, tell us how we can help and we have a 110 percent support for this. If we don't stand with them, if they fail, then we all pay the price."

If the king were to send troops to Iraq, Jordan would become the first Arab country to do so.

Abdullah said the Israeli-Palestinian issue was at the core of all problems in the Middle East, and said he viewed the conflict in Iraq as a lesser story.

"I see Iraq, although it's difficult for people in America and Britain to see it this way, as a side show," he said

"The main problem that feeds on all the instability we see in the Middle East is the Israeli-Palestinian problem. Until we sort that out, then we'll never have the type of stability that the Middle East hopes for."

Abdullah was complimentary of Iraq's newly installed leaders, but said they will need help making Iraq safe.

"These are good, tough, courageous people," he said. "But the challenge facing them on security is going to be their major problem and they're going to need everybody's help."

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