Hamas Chief Due In Jordan 12 Years After Expulsion
By Agence France-Presse
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Khaled Meshaal, political chief of the Hamas movement that rules Gaza, is due in Jordan on Sunday on his first official visit since he was expelled in 1999, the government spokesman said.
“Khaled Meshaal will visit Jordan on Sunday, along with the Crown Prince of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Tamim al-Thani,” Rakan Majali, who is also information minister, told AFP on Tuesday.
“His visit is part of a new chapter in relations between Jordan and Hamas. But this will not be at the expense of the Palestinian Authority, which is the only legitimate representative of the Palestinian people,” he added.
“Reopening Hamas offices in Amman is not on the agenda. They did not ask for that anyway.”
AMMAN, Jordan — Khaled Meshal, the leader of Hamas, made a rare and pointedly low-key visit to Jordan on Sunday, days after Hamas officials signaled that he had effectively abandoned the group’s base in Damascus, the Syrian capital.
Mr. Meshal and a delegation from Hamas’s political bureau, including his deputy, Mousa Abu Marzook, arrived in Amman with the crown prince of Qatar, Sheik Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, and met with the king of Jordan, Abdullah II.
It was the first official visit to Jordan by Hamas’s leader since the group’s former headquarters in Amman were shut down by the Jordanian government in 1999, forcing the group to relocate to Damascus. Moves toward reconciliation are a delicate issue for both sides.