Even though the State Department has advised all Americans to leave Jordan because of anti-U.S. unrest, Rep. Wayne Owens, D-Utah, is headed there as part of his assignment on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
"I don't have any apprehension. I spoke as recently as yesterday with our ambassador there, and he assured me the king could protect me," Owens told reporters Wednesday. He will stay at King Hussein's palace, "the safest place to be in all of Jordan."He added, "I will not do anything the State Department doesn't tell me is safe."
Owens stay in Jordan will be part of a two-week trip to the Middle East and Switzerland. Owens left Washington Wednesday.
He will begin with 31/2 days in Geneva, Switzerland. He has been appointed an official congressional observer of talks there on banning chemical arms - an issue important to Utah because Tooele Army Depot stores 43 percent of the nation's chemical weapons.
He will later fly to Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Cairo and Amman, Jordan.
He said he hopes to meet with most of Israel's top officials, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and with Jordan's King Hussein.