hamas cabinet 298 88 ap.
(photo credit: AP [file])
The Hamas-led government in the Palestinian Authority has refused a Jordanian request for it to send a delegation to Amman to examine evidence against members of the movement who allegedly smuggled weapons, Palestinian and Jordanian officials said Sunday.
Atta Khairy, top Palestinian diplomat in Jordan, told The Associated Press that the Hamas government informed Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas that it was "not interested" in taking part in a delegation expected in Amman on Wednesday for a briefing on alleged Hamas plots to target Jordan.
Instead, the officials said they wanted Jordan to communicate directly with the Hamas leaders exiled in Syria "because they were accused of the plots," said Jordanian government spokesman Nasser Judeh, quoting a letter from Abbas to the Jordanian government.
The Palestinian government claimed it was not directly involved in the matter, Judeh quoted Abbas as stating.
"We are surprised by the refusal of the (Hamas) government to participate in the Palestinian delegation," Judeh said. He said Jordanian authorities would reveal details on the seized weapons and the detained militants, as well as expose violations by Hamas elements in Jordan over a long period of time.
The accusations of planned terrorism from the Jordanians were but the latest crisis to hit the month-old Hamas government.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri called the accusations 'totally false and groundless' and said Jordan's efforts to foment anger toward Hamas would backfire.
'This will not isolate Hamas, but will contribute to isolating those involved in' pressuring the group, he said.
Jordan has a checkered history with Hamas. King Hussein saved Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal's life after a botched Mossad assassination attempt in Amman in 1997, while King Abdullah issued a warrant for his arrest following a souring of relations in 1999.