Jordanian FM meets with Saudi counterpart after 'coup attempt'

Jordanian FM meets with Saudi counterpart after alleged coup attempt
3 min read
06 April, 2021
The statement by Amman’s foreign ministry made no mention of reported demands by Saudi officials to secure the release of the ex-head of Jordan’s royal court, Bassem Awadullah.
Amman's foreign ministry confirmed the meeting took place in a formal statement [Getty]

Jordan's Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi met with his Saudi counterpart Faisal bin Farhan in Amman on Monday after a high-ranking Riyadh delegation arrived at the capital in the aftermath of an alleged coup attempt.

In a statement issued via Amman's foreign ministry, Safadi sent the "salutations" of Jordan's King Abdullah to Saudi ruler King Salman and the kingdom's recognition of Riyadh's "supportive stance". 

The statement made no mention of alleged demands by Saudi officials to secure the release of the ex-head of Jordan’s royal court, Bassem Awadullah, who is reportedly a close ally of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Awadallah, formerly a top adviser to Jordan's King Abdullah, was arrested along with up to 17 others in a crackdown following an alleged coup attempt. He enjoys Saudi citizenship, having served as the monarch’s special envoy to Saudi Arabia.

According to a report by The Washington Post, Saudi Faisal bin Farhan had demanded Awadallah's release during his meeting with Jordanian officials.

Amman has insisted that "foreign entities" were involved in the coup attempt, with fingers pointing at Saudi Arabia. 

In comments to the Post, an intelligence official from an unnamed Arab country said Saudi authorities were "worried about what he [Awadallah] might say", without elaborating.

The intelligence official also said Riyadh, one of the first countries to condemn the alleged coup attempt, requested the visit of the high-ranking delegation to Amman shortly after the coup allegations emerged on Saturday.

Read also: Jordan justice bans publishing information on alleged plot

On Saturday evening after being placed under house arrest, Prince Hamzeh bin Hussein - a vocal critic of the government - sent a video to the BBC accusing Jordan’s "ruling system" of corruption, incompetence and crushing dissent.

"It has reached a point where no one is able to speak or express opinions on anything without being bullied, arrested, harassed and threatened," he said.

Hamzeh, who remains under house arrest for his alleged role in the "coup attempt", has since pledged loyalty to his half-brother, King Abdullah II after meeting his uncle Prince Hassan, widely regarded as a mediator.

In a statement following the meeting, Prince Hamzeh said: "The interests of the homeland must remain above all else, and we must all stand behind his majesty the king and his efforts to protect Jordan and its national interests."

"In light of the developments over the past two days, I place myself in the hands of his highness the king."

The statement stood in contrast to the defiant tone struck in an audio recording shared by Jordanian opposition groups earlier on Monday, where he insisted he would not follow orders restricting his movement.

The government has accused Hamzeh of a "wicked" plot and involvement in a seditious conspiracy involving a foreign power to "destabilise the kingdom's security".

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