Jordan's IAF seek restored ties with Hamas

AFP, Tuesday 14 Dec 2010

In an effort to restore inter-Palestinian relations, Jordan's Islamic Action Front has released a statement on its website encouraging a restoration of ties between the kingdom and Hamas

Jordan's powerful Islamist opposition urged the government to "restore balance" in its relations with Hamas that have remained strained since 1999.

"Jordan should restore balance to its ties with Hamas and help reorganise inter-Palestinian relations to protect the kingdom's strategic interests," Murad Adaileh, an Islamic Action Front (IAF) leader, said in a statement on the party's website.

"Hamas is against solving the Palestinian issue at the expense of Jordan and it strongly advocates the right of return of refugees. This should encourage Jordan to reconsider its ties with Hamas."

In 1999, the authorities expelled Hamas political chief Khaled Meshaal along with three other members of the Palestinian Islamist movement.

Hamas was accused at the time of threatening the security and stability of Jordan, which signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1994.

Ties soured further in 2006 after Amman alleged that members of the group smuggled arms into the kingdom from neighbouring Syria.

But Meshaal was allowed back into Jordan in 2009 for the first time since his expulsion to attend the funeral of his father.

Jordanian and Hamas officials met secretly in Amman in 2008 to address "pending security issues."

"The government should not open the door to some Palestinian political powers and close it when it comes to Hamas, which is keen to have strong relations with Jordan," Adaileh said, apparently referring to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah party.

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