Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal speaks during an interview with Reuters in Doha.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Jordan has turned down a request from Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal to visit the kingdom, sources in Amman reported on Tuesday.
The sources said the Jordanian authorities told Mashaal that he was currently “unwelcome” in Jordan.
The authorities explained that the circumstances that led to Mashaal’s expulsion from Jordan have still not changed, the sources said.
According to the sources, the previous decision to expel Mashaal and other Hamas leaders from Jordan was no longer security-related.
“The decision to prevent Mashaal from visiting Jordan is now politically motivated,” the sources said.
In 1999, Jordan expelled the Hamas leaders and closed the movement’s offices in Amman. Then, the Jordanians accused Hamas of meddling in the kingdom’s internal affairs. Mashaal and the Hamas officials were expelled despite the fact that they hold Jordanian citizenship.
Mashaal was hoping to visit Jordan to congratulate a senior Muslim Brotherhood official, Zaki Bani Ershaid, who will be released from prison on January 4, 2016.
Bani Ershaid was sentenced to one year in prison for “harming relations” between the kingdom and the United Arab Emirates – a Gulf country that is strongly opposed to Muslim Brotherhood and its proxy, Hamas.
In 2012, the Jordanians permitted Mashaal to briefly visit the kingdom, where he and some top officials of the movement met with King Abdullah.