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U.S. maintains 'strong' ties to Jordan

Feb. 4, 2011 at 11:11 AM

WASHINGTON, Feb. 4 (UPI) -- U.S. interests in the Middle East are driving a static relationship with a new Cabinet in the Jordanian government, a U.S. government spokesman said.

Jordanian King Abdullah II appointed Maruf Bakhit as the country's next prime minister following a week of street protests.

The Islamic Action Front, an opposition wing of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood, however, complained that the country's next leaders should be chosen by the people, not the ruling monarchy.

Nevertheless, Washington said it was looking forward to working with Bakhit and new members of the Jordanian Cabinet.

"We are eager to continue to support Jordan during these difficult times," said State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley in a statement to reporters.

Crowley described Jordan as a "significant partner" in the region, adding U.S. interests concerning its partners in the region are the same.

"And it is our interests that guide our relationship," he said. "We have a very strong relationship with King Abdullah II. We will look forward to working with his new Cabinet. But we have this strong partnership because we have many shared interests."

A series of political shake-ups is rippling across the Middle East following a revolution in Tunisia that brought down the government. Protesters are demonstrating against leaders, such as Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who have been in power for decades.

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