King Abdullah says Saudi Arabia has kept up support for Jordan

Monarch dismisses suggestions of dip in Saudi backing since royal rift in March

Saudi Arabia has maintained support for Jordan since a royal rift four months ago, King Abdullah said on Tuesday.

King Salman has been “supportive of the kingdom in the face of all challenges, including the sedition case,” King Abdullah said after meeting Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan in Amman.

Ties between the two countries cooled after the rift came out in the open in March and security forces arrested 17 people the authorities said were involved in seditious activity.

Most prominent among them was Jordanian economist Bassem Awadallah, a senior adviser to King Salman.

Mr Awadallah was a former confidant of King Abdullah and headed the Jordanian Royal Court. He is also a US national and has a Saudi passport.

“The strong relations between Jordan and Saudi Arabia are established and solid and are not shaken by doubt and hearsay,” the official Jordanian news agency quoted King Abdullah as saying.

In June, a secret court sentenced Mr Awadallah, along with a distant cousin of the king, to 15 years in prison on sedition charges they both denied. Security forces had released the 15 other men in March.

Authorities said Mr Awadallah was an associate of Prince Hamzah bin Hussein, a younger half-brother of King Abdullah, who was looking to depose the king.

The prince was not arrested but he has not been seen in public since April 11, when he was photographed with the king.

King Abdullah told CNN while on a visit to Washington last month that although Mr Awadallah has Saudi ties, “we are dealing with this as a domestic problem”.

“Finger-pointing does not help at all. We have enough problems in the region. We need to move forward,” the king said.

During his trip to Amman, Prince Faisal “affirmed Saudi eagerness to shore up co-operation with Jordan”, the Jordanian news agency reported.

Saudi Arabia is a major donor to Jordan.

Along with Kuwait and the UAE, Saudi Arabia deposited at least $1 billion in the Jordanian Central Bank in 2018.

The money transfer came after mass demonstrations that same year against the government as Jordan’s economy deteriorated.

Updated: August 4th 2021, 5:19 AM
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