Jordan bans reporting on Prince Hamzah

The move comes a day after the royal signed a letter affirming his loyalty to King Abdullah

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Jordan’s public prosecutor on Tuesday banned all coverage of a rift between King Abdullah II and his half-brother, former crown prince Hamzah bin Hussein.

Discussion of the matter in local news, online or on social media is now banned, Public Prosecutor Hassan Al Abdallat said on Tuesday.

This was to “preserve the secrecy of the investigations conducted by the security services into the associates of Prince Hamzah", Mr Al Abdallat said.

The authorities on Saturday night arrested 16 people, including the former chief of the royal court Bassem Awadallah and royal family member Sharif Hassan Ben Zaid.

Prince Hamzah was not arrested or detained, officials said, although the military ordered him not to take any action that could be used to harm the stability of the nation.

The announcement came hours after Prince Hamzah, who had been accused of actions that could destabilise the state, signed a letter pledging loyalty to King Abdullah.

"The national interest must remain above all else, and we must all stand behind His Majesty the King in his efforts to safeguard Jordan and its national interests, and ensure the best for the Jordanian people, in accordance with the Hashemite legacy of dedication to serving the nation and supporting the head of the family and the leader of the homeland," the letter said.

The solution to the rift was brokered by King Abdullah's uncle, Prince Hassan bin Talal, at Prince Hassan's house, in front of witnesses, the royal court said.

Malik R Dahlan, a professional mediator and friend of the royal family, who is also a confidant of Prince Hamzah, said: “The Royal Hashemite family has a long history and tradition of mediation, which is one of the many reasons for its formidable resilience and popularity.

“This moment can be seen as a pressure-valve moment and the King, in his wisdom, is using this opportunity to bring the family together, uphold the rule of law and resolve this matter with the dignity and the symbolism that it deserves."

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan delivered a message of support from Riyadh in a meeting with his Jordanian equivalent Ayman Al Safadi, Jordan’s Foreign Minister said on Tuesday.

Mr Al Safadi said that the meeting affirmed solidarity between the two nations.

“The ministers affirmed that the security and stability of the two nations are indivisible and they stand together to face all challenges,” the Jordanian Foreign Ministry said.

Mr Al Safadi is also the Deputy Prime Minister and on Sunday laid out the accusations against the 16 who were arrested.

On Monday, the US also reaffirmed its support for Jordan, as the crisis appeared to be resolved.

“King Abdullah is a key partner of the United States and he has our full support,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said.