A senior Jordanian official on Sunday accused the country’s former crown prince of conspiring with foreign elements in a “malicious plot” that threatened national security.
Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi told reporters that the plot had been foiled at the “zero hour.”
“Then it was clear they moved from design and planning into action,” Safadi said. He said some 14-16 people are under arrest, in addition to two senior officials close to Prince Hamzah.
Safadi spoke a day after 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 Abdullah.
In a videotaped statement from house arrest, Hamzah accused the country’s leadership of corruption and incompetence.
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 Hamzah was asked to “stop all these activities and movements that threaten Jordan and its stability,” but he refused.
Safadi did not identify the foreign countries allegedly involved in the plot. But he said a longtime senior official who has business ties in several Gulf Arab states, Bassem Ibrahim Awadallah, was involved and had been planning on leaving the country. He also said Awadallah had been trying to secure a plane for Hamzah’s wife to flee. Awadallah and a second senior official, Sharif Hasan bin Zaid, are among the suspects in custody.
“There is a joint co-ordination between Awadallah and the prince but I will not go into the details,” Safadi said. He declined to say whether the prince would be charged with any crime.
Asked whether Hamzah could face charges, 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.”