Hamas is opposed to the idea of creating a Palestinian state in Jordan, Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal declared Sunday.

Mashaal was speaking to reporters in Amman after meeting with Jordan’s King Abdullah II.

“Jordan belongs to the Jordanians and Palestine to the Palestinians,” Mashaal said in a message aimed at reassuring Abdullah that Hamas does not challenge his monarchy.

Mashaal said he also affirmed during the meeting with the king Hamas’s keenness on safeguarding Jordan’s security and stability.

Hamas officials described Mashaal’s talks with Abdullah as positive and expressed hope the two sides would open a new page in their relations.

This was the first meeting of its kind between the two since the Jordanian authorities expelled Mashaal and other Hamas leaders from the kingdom in 1999.

Mashaal’s visit to Jordan was supposed to last three days. However, Hamas officials announced after the meeting that Mashaal would leave Jordan Sunday. The officials did not offer any explanation why the visit had been cut short.

Ezat Risheq, a top Hamas official who accompanied Mashaal, described the talks as “extremely positive and excellent.” Risheq said the two sides agreed to hold more meetings in the future.

Mashaal arrived in Amman together with Qatar’s crown prince, Tamim bin Hamad al Thani, who attended the meeting with the king.

Qatar, which maintains close ties with the Hamas leadership, played a major role in facilitating Mashaal’s visit to Jordan.

Sources in Jordan quoted Abdullah as stressing his support for the Palestinians’ right to establish an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital within the pre-1967 lines.

The king emphasized his full support for the Palestinian Authority’s efforts to achieve a Palestinian state, noting this was a top interest for Jordan, the sources said.

“Internationally backed negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis is the only way to restore Palestinian rights,” Abdullah was quoted as telling Mashaal and the Qatari crown prince.

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