Jordan’s King Abdullah yesterday told his nation that the worst political crisis in decades sparked by an alleged plot involving his half-brother Prince Hamzah was over.
The government had accused Hamzah — a former crown prince who was sidelined as heir to the throne in 2004 — of involvement in a conspiracy to “destabilise the kingdom’s security” and arrested at least 16 people.
But Abdullah said yesterday that Hamzah, who has signed a letter pledging his loyalty to the king following mediation by an uncle, was safe in his palace under his “protection”.
“I assure you, that the sedition has been nipped in the bud,” Abdullah said in an address read out in his name on state television.
“The challenge of these last days was not the most dangerous for the stability of the country — but it was the most painful for me because the parties involved in this sedition were from home and from outside,” he said.
Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi on Sunday charged that the plotters had linked up with foreign parties, but had declined to identify them.
Reacting to the events, Abdullah said he felt “shock, pain and anger as a brother and guardian of the Hashemite family and as a leader of this dear people”.
Hamzah was appointed crown prince in 1999 in line with his father’s wishes, but he was stripped of the title in 2004 and replaced by Abdullah’s eldest son.
After claiming he was put under house arrest on Saturday, Hamzah had made extensive use of traditional and social media to lash out against his situation.
But after a statement voicing his loyalty to the king on Monday, Abdullah said yesterday that Hamzah had offered his support for the monarchy.
“Hamzah is now with his family in his palace under my protection,” Abdullah said in his address.
“He has committed before the (Hashemite) family to follow the path of his parents and grandparents, to be faithful to their message, and to place the interest of Jordan, its constitution and its laws above all other considerations.”
Investigations continue, the king said.
“Regarding the other aspects of this affair, they are being investigated... and the results will be dealt with transparently,” he added in the address.
Jordan borders Israel and the occupied West Bank, Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. It hosts US troops and is home to millions of exiled Palestinians and more than half a million Syrian refugees.
The monarchy ruling Jordan declared it was settling the matter “within the framework of the Hashemite family”.
State television said yesterday that US President Joe Biden phoned Abdullah to express support for him and for the kingdom’s efforts to preserve its security and stability.
A White House statement also said President Joe Biden reaffirmed the United States’ strong support for Jordan and the leadership of King Abdullah in a call with the king.
“They discussed the strong bilateral ties between Jordan and the United States, Jordan’s important role in the region, and strengthening bilateral cooperation on multiple political, economic, and security issues,” the statement said.
Major Gulf powers, Russia, Egypt and the Arab League have all pledged support for Abdullah, and yesterday, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen visited Amman.
After meeting with Abdullah, she said the EU was “ready to continue its long-term partnership and contribute to prosperity and stability”.
The king’s address followed orders issued Tuesday by Amman prosecutor Hassan al-Abdallat that banned the publication of any information about the alleged plot in order to keep the security services’ investigation secret.
Jordan’s media was told to wait for official statements before publishing anything about those arrested.
Yesterday morning’s newspapers were dominated by the visit the day before of Saudi Foreign Minister Faysal bin Farhan with a message from the Custodian of Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud and by developments in the coronavirus outbreak ravaging the country.
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