U.S. Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday told American troops training the Jordanian military that it would take a “long time” to defeat the Islamic State jihadist group.
“We are going to defeat ISIL," the vice president said, using an acronym for Islamic State in speaking to troops at a training center outside Zarqa, northeast of Jordan’s capital, Amman. "They are already on their heels." But he added, "It’s going to take a long time.”
As part of the increasing military cooperation between the nations, the U.S. last week gave Jordan eight Black Hawk helicopters to boost border protection, with eight more to come.
The vice president earlier held talks at the royal palace with King Abdullah II, a key Western military ally whose country has been a member of the U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.
The palace said in a statement that the Jordanian king stressed the need to “support the Iraqi government’s efforts in fighting against Daesh,” using an Arabic acronym for IS.
Biden and Abdullah reportedly also discussed the conflict in neighboring Syria and the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process. The palace said the king called for an end to “Israeli violations” of Christian and Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem.
Biden is completing a regional tour that has also taken him to Israel, the Palestinian territories and the United Arab Emirates. He has held discussions on peace efforts that would establish a two-state solution between the Palestinians and Israelis.
Syria’s five-year conflict has seen more than 270,000 people killed and millions more displaced by violence.
The kingdom says it is hosting 1.4 million Syrian refugees, which is 20 percent of its population and more than twice the 600,000 figure given by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.
Biden’s wife, Jill, on Thursday visited the Zaatari refugee camp in northern Jordan, which provides shelter to nearly 80,000 Syrian refugees.