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Jordanian PM wins confidence vote amid Syria challenge

Published: Updated:

Jordan’s parliament on Tuesday passed a vote of confidence in Prime Minister Abdullah Nsur who faces the challenge of dealing with fallout from the war in neighboring Syria.

The vote was passed 83-65 in the lower house.

Nsur, reappointed by King Abdullah II in March after unprecedented consultations between the palace and parliament, told MPs in a policy statement last week that the Syrian conflict is threatening the kingdom, which is hosting around 500,000 Syrian refugees.

His 19-member government, the smallest in Jordan in more than four decades, has decided to send a letter to U.N. Security Council to outline “the serious implications of hosting the Syrian refugees.”

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees expects the number of Syrian refugees in Jordan to soar to 1.2 million by the end of 2013 -- equivalent to a fifth of the kingdom’s population.

In their debate on Nsur’s policies, some MPs joined the Muslim Brotherhood, the largest opposition party, in rejecting the presence of U.S. troops in the kingdom because of deteriorating security in Syria.

“We should realize that America is unstable in its positions and that will confuse us and get us into the fire,” said Abdel Hadi Majai, head of the largest parliamentary bloc, who did not vote for Nsur.

The Islamists have urged the government to review its decision to accept U.S. troops in Jordan.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has revealed that some 150 U.S. military specialists have been deployed in Jordan since last year and that he had ordered a U.S. Army headquarters team to bolster the mission, bringing the total American presence to more than 200 troops.

Nsur formed a transitional government in October to oversee a January general election that was boycotted by the Islamists and other groups.