Jordan Says Prince Worked With "Foreign Parties" To Destabilise Country


Jordan's foreign minister Sunday said an alleged plot by the former crown prince to undermine the government had been foiled.

The United States and Middle Eastern countries issued statements supporting King Abdullah.

Jordan's Deputy Prime Minister Ayman Safadi says that King Abdullah's half-brother and former crown prince, Prince Hamza, liaised with foreign parties over a plot to destabilize the country. Hamzah, an outspoken critic of corruption in Jordan, had called for holding those responsible to account.

In a press briefing held at the Prime Ministry to acquaint the public with the details of the alleged arrest of Prince Hamzeh, Safadi stressed that security agencies carried out "thorough and intensive investigations" regarding communications between Awadallah, Zeid and Prince Hamzeh in which they discussed the "proper timing" to take steps, which threaten the safety and stability of the Kingdom.

The 41-year-old prince, who has no formal post in government, was confined to his Amman palace on Saturday, and reported that authorities tried to bar him from communicating with the outside world, cutting his phone lines and internet connection and arresting several of his friends.

Domestically, Prince Hamzah's unprecedented criticism of the ruling class - without naming the king - could lend support to growing complaints about poor governance and human rights abuses in Jordan.

Bessma Momani, a professor of worldwide relations at Ontario's Waterloo University, said the house arrest of Hamzah was "self-defeating" because it is likely to strengthen the prince's popularity. Abdullah has ruled Jordan since the 1999 death of his father, King Hussein, who ruled the country for close to a half-century.

Prince Hamza was dismissed as heir to the throne in 2004 by King Abdullah, his half-brother, in a move that consolidated the monarch's power. "But other than that, I can't see any threat that would make me feel concerned", he said.

Then-Crown Prince Hamza Bin al Hussein and Princess Noor Bint Aasem Bin Nayef pose for
Jordan arrests ex-palace aide, others for ‘security’ reasons

"We are closely following the reports and in touch with Jordanian officials", State Department spokesman Ned Price said.

Majali told Roya "No one will be more compassionate to Prince Hamzah than his big brother His Majesty King Abdullah II".

Hamza's stepmother, however, former Queen Noor, defended the prince saying the allegations were "wicked slander".

Jordan's neighbours and allies expressed solidarity with King Abdullah over the security measures in the kingdom, an important ally of the United States. But the prince has disputed this in a video message.

"But at the end, the security and stability of Jordan are above all consideration and all the necessary legal procedures will be taken to protect them", Safadi said.

Arrests of top officials and royal family members are rare in Jordan.

Jordan, a resource-poor desert kingdom slightly smaller than ME, retains outsize importance because of its reputation for stability.

But Hamzah was stripped of his title just five years later and pushed into the political abyss when Adbullah gave the role to his eldest son, 26-year-old Al Hussein bin Abdullah II. That included Israel, which signed a peace treaty with its neighbor in 1994.

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