King Abd Allah's country has pledged to train Iraqi soldiers and police, the first such promise for post-war Iraq from an Arab or Muslim state.

Despite pressure and the lure of incentives all Muslim and Arab nations have so far resisted efforts to give direct help to occupied Iraq.

Although some Arab and Muslim companies will regard the offer as a craven act, America has heaped praise on Jordan for its "excellent contribution" to stabilisation and reconstruction efforts.

Excellent contribution

"The United States is very pleased by Jordan's announcement that it will assist in training Iraqi civilian police and military personnel in Jordan," said Kurtis Cooper, a State Department spokesman.

The King of Jordan enjoys
excellent relations with Bush

"We believe that such training will make an excellent contribution towards strengthening the capacity of the Iraqi people to provide for their own security," he said.

King Abd Allah II announced that Amman would train about 30,000 Iraqi police and troops, as the United States continued its international appeal for such assistance and cash contributions for Iraq.

In an interview with AFP, the king said that Jordan was in the final stages of preparing to begin the training which would occur in eight-week courses, each to be attended by 1500 Iraqis.

All the training will be done in Jordan, but will include lessons for Iraqi instructors who can then return home to teach their countrymen, he said.

"We told the Iraqis, anything you want from our institutions, (you're welcome)," the king said. "Here in Jordan, but to go there, I think it is sensitive."

The United States has approached other Muslim countries to assist with post-war security operations, including Turkey and Pakistan, but to date they have resisted the appeals.