AMMAN, JORDAN, AUG. 9 -- Jordan has signaled it will go along with United Nations' sanctions against Iraq, effectively shutting off a vital overland route from the Jordanian port of Aqaba that was Baghdad's lifeline during its war against Iran.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Marwan Qassem said before leaving Amman for an Arab summit meeting in Cairo that his country "would go along with the boycott."

"It is mandatory for us to comply with the Security Council resolution. The government of Jordan has taken note of Security Council Resolution 661 and it is studying the implications of this resolution," Qassem said in an interview Wednesday after briefing ambassadors from countries of the European Community.

"How this recent resolution will be physically adopted is under study by our government," Jordan's King Hussein told journalists Wednesday, saying that Jordan understood its obligation to the U.N. Charter.

Several Jordanians expressed surprise that Hussein, who had sided in part with Iraq, would accede to the embargo. The king also has rejected Baghdad's annexation of Kuwait. An analyst said that Jordanian support of the embargo may remain in force "until Iraq agrees to pull out of Kuwait."

With no oil flowing through Iraq's pipelines across Saudi Arabia and Turkey, Baghdad's main trading routes are virtually sealed off. Jordanian officials explained that it could take "up to 30 days" to enforce fully the sanctions with regard to Aqaba.

The port -- on the Gulf of Aqaba, northeast of the Red Sea -- handles 20 million tons of cargo a year, an estimated half of which goes to Iraq. Economists Jawad Anani and Fahd Fanek said the embargo against Iraq would cost Jordan about one-quarter of its export revenues and could deprive it of 90 percent of its oil.

Jordan receives 35,000 barrels of crude oil a day, trucked across the Iraqi hinterland at a transport cost of $2 a barrel. For lack of a pipeline to Aqaba, Iraq trucked oil there for export during its war with Iran.

Jordan has an alternate source of oil, through a pipeline from Saudi Arabia. However, that facility has not been used for many years and is said to need extensive, costly repairs.

"Aqaba handles 20 million tons of cargo a year, and half of that goes to Iraq," Anani said, noting that the loss to the port "will be huge."

Fanek said, though, that since the Persian Gulf War ended in 1988, goods passing through to Iraq have been fewer and have consisted of food products, light industrial products, appliances, clothing and other consumer goods.

Iraq, Jordan's biggest market for manufactured goods, fruits and vegetables, imports roughly a quarter of all Jordanian exports, valued at $400 million to $500 million yearly. The loss of that major outlet would cost Jordan needed jobs and revenue.

Anani described Jordan as "a reluctant participant" in the embargo, noting that the country had "no political choice."

One observer said, "I think he {the King} is sincere in his defense of Iraq, but he is now having to watch his back." After having been a moderate and pro-Western leader in the Middle East, a region of ever-shifting alliances, the Jordanian monarch's sympathy with Iraq has irritated and upset Western nations.

Another observer said that if Iraqi President Saddam Hussein "is about to be defeated, the king has to be careful. He is, after all, a survivor."

Economist Fanek said he was surprised at the embargo. "Though food, agricultural goods and medicine are not included in the sanctions, I don't know if Jordan will be compensated for its losses," he said. "I imagine Jordan is under huge pressure from the United States, and it is now trying to safeguard its security rather than the political aspirations of a people."

Those who stand to lose the most from the sanctions, should they be vigorously applied, are private contractors who have invested heavily in businesses and projects in Iraq.

Jordanians here rushed to withdraw cash from banks in fear that a deterioration of conditions here would leave them short of liquidity. The Central Bank of Jordan did not intervene so as not to fuel panic, banking sources said.

Air-raid sirens could be heard this morning, triggering fears among the population of an Israeli military action. Reports conflicted, however, about whether there was an actual Israeli overflight or whether the sirens were just being tested.

King Hussein said Wednesday that his armed forces were on alert, and Foreign Minister Qassem alluded to contingency plans.

"The way the West is trying to deal with the situation is counterproductive," Qassem said.

"Higher tension is not a prelude to a peaceful settlement of the conflict and it could create a sense of desperation that could easily increase the chances of disaster," the foreign minister insisted.

Iraq, to formalize the merger with Kuwait that it announced Wednesday, appointed the head of Kuwait's Iraqi-installed government as deputy prime minister of the joint country and canceled Baghdad's $10 billion debt to the conquered emirate.Special Correspondent Lamis Andoni contributed to this report.