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US to Train Iraqi Police in Jordan - 2003-10-03

The U.S.-backed interim government of Iraq is finalizing negotiations to open a police training academy in Jordan, with the aim of graduating 35,000 new Iraqi policemen over the next two years.

Officials of the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq say the country's persistent security problems require that more police be trained outside the country.

A coalition spokesman, Charles Heatley, says current training facilities in Baghdad, Basra and Mosul are not sufficient to produce the number of policemen Iraq needs.

He told a news conference Friday that final negotiations are being completed with Jordan that will establish an Iraqi police academy in that country.

"The important objective, of course, is to make sure that as many of the police officers as we can that are now serving on the streets of Iraq, get the training as quickly as possible, so they can contribute to the efforts to improve security in this country, and can increase the level of Iraqis who are participating in that effort," he said.

He said other countries were considered, including Hungary, but Jordan offered several advantages. Because it borders Iraq, it has the right facilities at the right price, and the cadets will remain in an Arabic-speaking country.

Iraqi officers will train the cadets. Mr. Heatley said coalition trainers are now teaching the instructors some of the basics of police work, including weapons handling and human rights protection.

If the contract with Jordan is completed in time, the coalition hopes to graduate the first class of 500 Iraqi police cadets by the end of November. The coalition says 35,000 police trainees could pass through the Jordanian academy over the next two years.