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May pledges more UK support for Jordanian forces as she starts Middle East trip

Theresa May met Jordanian troops as she announced plans to ramp up British support for the country's forces at the start of a Middle East trip.

The Prime Minister was helicoptered into the base on the outskirts of Amman, where she inspected military hardware, including rocket propelled grenades, snipers and drones.

Mrs May is holding talks with King Abdullah over increasing defence and security ties with the country, which borders Syria and is part of the international coalition fighting Islamic State.

The Prime Minister said Jordan played an important role in maintaining stability in the region.

"We've been working with their armed forces helping with training for some time now and we will be enhancing that," she said.

"I've seen some of the examples of that today but we will be enhancing that and working with their air force in the future and helping them to develop and we can share our expertise with them.

"I think that's to their benefit but also, our being able to work with them and the international community here in Jordan, helps us in terms of our future as well."

Training will be carried out in Jordan and the UK to help the Royal Jordanian Air Force improve its capability to strike IS.

Mrs May gave the king a framed copy of the original recommendation for the Military Cross his British grandfather, Walter Percy Gardiner, who served in the Royal Engineers regiment, received in 1944.

It paid tribute to his "gallantry and coolness under fire", which "have had a very marked effect in maintaining the efficiency and high morale of his Company even though it has suffered considerable casualties".

It added: "Through long periods of strain he has always maintained a cool judgment and has made a point of visiting and encouraging his men while they were working under fire at every opportunity.

"He has throughout displayed outstanding qualities of leadership and a complete disregard of personal danger in action."

Mrs May also gave the king the book Follow The Sapper - An Illustrated History Of The Corps Of Royal Engineers.

Jordan has stepped up its airstrikes against IS, also known as Daesh, in recent months and boosting military links with the nation will help keep Britain safe, the PM said.

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