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Minggu, 04 April 2021

Jordan's former crown prince Hamza bin Hussein accused of 'malicious plot' to destabilise kingdom - ABC News

A senior Jordanian official has accused the country's former crown prince Hamza bin Hussein of conspiring with foreign elements in a "malicious plot" that threatened national security.

Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi told reporters on Sunday that the plot had been foiled at the "zero hour".

He said between 14 to 16 people were under arrest, in addition to two senior officials close to Prince Hamzah.

Mr Safadi spoke a day after Prince Hamzah, a half brother of King Abdullah II, was placed under house arrest, in a rare public clash between top members of the long-ruling family.

The unprecedented incident has raised concerns about stability in a country seen as a key Western ally in a volatile region and drawn an outpouring of support for King Abdullah.

In a videotaped statement from house arrest, Prince Hamzah accused the country's leadership of corruption and incompetence.

Mr Safadi, who also holds the title of Deputy Prime Minister, said intelligence agents had been observing the plotters for some time and raised their concerns with the King.

He said Prince Hamzah was asked to "stop all these activities and movements that threaten Jordan and its stability", but he refused.

Mr Safadi did not identify the foreign countries allegedly involved in the plot. But he said a senior official who has business ties in several Gulf Arab states, Bassem Ibrahim Awadallah, was involved and had been planning on leaving the country.

Jordan's King Abdullah II
King Abdullah and Prince Hamzah have not displayed open rivalry over the years.(

AP Photo: Yousef Allan/The Royal Hashemite Court

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He also said Mr Awadallah had been trying to secure a plane for Prince Hamzah's wife to flee. Mr Awadallah and a second senior official, Sharif Hassan bin Zaid, are among the suspects in custody.

Asked whether Prince Hamzah could face charges, Mr Safadi said that for the time being there were "amicable" attempts to deal with him, but added that "the kingdom's stability and security transcends" everything.

"The plot is totally contained. Our security and stability are not shaken."

The US, Saudi Arabia and Arab countries across the Middle East issued strong statements in favour of King Abdullah.

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade released a statement on Twitter, saying "Australia is a steadfast friend of the people of Jordan and of His Majesty King Abdullah II. His Majesty enjoys Australia's full support."

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The swift show of support underscored Jordan's strategic importance as an island of relative stability in the turbulent region.

While the harsh criticism from a popular member of the ruling family could lend support to growing complaints about the kingdom's poor governance, the King's tough reaction also illustrated the limits to which he will accept public dissent.

Labib Kamhawi, a Jordanian analyst, said Prince Hamzah had crossed a red line by indicating he might be an alternative to the long-ruling king.

"This is something the king does not accept or tolerate," he said. "This is why we are now witnessing what has happened. This file is now more or less closed."

Early on Sunday, Prince Hamzah's mother, Queen Noor, expressed sympathy for "innocent victims".

In his video, Prince Hamzah said he was visited early Saturday by the kingdom's military chief and told he could not go out, communicate with people or meet with them.

He said his phone and internet service were cut and his satellite internet, used to record the message, was being cut off as well.

He said he was told he was being punished for taking part in meetings in which the king had been criticised, though he said he was not accused of joining in the criticism.

Prince Hamzah then lashed out at the "ruling system" without mentioning the King by name, saying it had decided "that its personal interests, that its financial interests, that its corruption is more important than the lives and dignity and futures of the 10 million people that live here".

"There are members of this family who still love this country, who care for [its people] and will put them above all else.

"Apparently, that is a crime worthy of isolation, threats and now being cut off."

Prince Hamzah is a former crown prince who was stripped of that title by King Abdullah in 2004, five years after becoming King following the death of their father, the late king Hussein.

Prince Hamzah is a popular figure in Jordan, widely seen as pious and modest. It is extremely rare for senior members of the ruling family to clash so publicly.

AP

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2021-04-04 19:50:39Z
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