Jordan's King Abdullah praises 'excellent' ties with Saudi Arabia

Relations improving as both countries seek to bring Syria back into fold

King Abdullah and Crown Prince Mohammed in Amman on June 22, 2022.  AFP
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Jordan's King Abdullah praised his “excellent” ties with Saudi's leadership before Sunday's Arab summit in Riyadh.

Relations between the two countries have been frosty in recent years, but have improved markedly.

Jordan joined Saudi Arabia last year in efforts to normalise ties with Syrian President Bashar Al Assad and bring Damascus back to the Arab League.

“I am bound by excellent ties with King Salman bin Abdul Aziz, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, and his regent, [Crown] Prince Mohammed,” the king told the Saudi-owned Al Sharq Al Awsat newspaper.

King Abdullah praised the kingdom's modernisation drive.

“Every Arab feels pride when examining the reforms and progression overseen by Prince Mohammed,” he said. “The Saudi renaissance is an important experiment.”

He also said that Jordan and other countries in the Middle East are facing “a series of challenges” including corruption, unemployment, refugee crises, water shortages and narcotics.

Jordan is a main conduit for what Arab officials describe as a multi-billion dollar trade in the amphetamine known as Captagon.

Jordanian officials have accused the Syrian military and Iranian-backed militias operating in southern Syria of sponsoring the Captagon trade. They say that curbing the flows has been a main factor behind Amman's rapprochement with Damascus in the past few years.

Crown Prince Mohammed has played a leading role in normalising ties with Damascus.

The country was readmitted to the Arab League this month and has been invited to the annual Arab League summit in Riyadh on Sunday.

Syria's Arab League membership was suspended in November 2011 in response to its government's repression of demonstrators in the country.

Rapprochement efforts intensified when China brokered a deal that restored full diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran, Assad's main regional supporter.

Jordan has also improved ties with China and Russia, Syria's major international supporters.

Saudi Arabia is the largest Arab donor to Jordan and a major investor in its neighbour, whose economy has been stagnant for over a decade. Remittances from Jordanian expatriate workers in Saudi Arabia are important in boosting its foreign currency reserves.

“Ties with Saudi Arabia are brotherly and strategic,” King Abdullah told the Saudi daily.

He said a friendship had developed between Crown Prince Mohammed and his son, Jordan's Crown Prince Hussein.

“Friendship and co-operation are undergoing between Prince Mohammed and our son Al Hussein,” King Abdullah said.

Crown Prince Hussein will marry Rajwa Al Seif, a Saudi national, in Amman on June 1.

Updated: May 16, 2023, 10:27 AM