Jordan denies reports of Qatari aid to host Hamas

Ch. 2 had said Qataris offered Jordan benefits to shelter Hamas; Saudis reportedly against move because of group's Iran ties.

Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal 311 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamed Al Hams/Handout)
Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal 311 (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamed Al Hams/Handout)
Jordan denied over the weekend that Qatar had offered financial aid to the kingdom in return for allowing Hamas to move its headquarters from Damascus to Amman.
Channel 2 reported last week that Qatar had offered to provide Jordan with natural gas and millions of dollars if the Jordanians agreed to host Hamas.
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“We haven’t received any such offer,” said a spokesman for the Jordanian government.
He also denied that Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal had plans to visit Jordan in the near future.
Mashaal was stripped of his Jordanian citizenship over a decade ago, when the Jordanians also shut down Hamas’s offices in Amman and expelled the movement’s leaders.
The new Jordanian government, headed by Prime Minister Awn Khasawneh, has indicated its willingness to restore relations with Hamas.
According to reports in the Arab media, dozens of families of Hamas officials have moved to Jordan in recent weeks in wake of increased tensions between the movement and the Syrian authorities.
The Syrian government is angry with Hamas because of the latter’s refusal to support President Bashar Assad against anti-regime protests in his country.
Mashaal has since been searching for another country that would agree to host Hamas, sources close to the movement confirmed Saturday. They said Qatar, which maintains close ties with Hamas, has been talking to Egypt and Jordan about the possibility of permitting the movement to move its offices either to Cairo or Amman.
The Qatari crown-prince is scheduled to visit Amman in the coming days to discuss the issue with Jordan’s King Abdullah II. A Hamas official said Mashaal may join the Qatari official on his trip to Jordan.
The London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper reported Saturday that unlike Qatar, Saudi Arabia has reservations about Hamas moving to Jordan.
The paper quoted Jordanian sources as saying the wives and children of a large number of Hamas officials have moved from Syria to Jordan, where some have also been given Jordanian citizenship.
The Saudis have made it clear to Jordan that Hamas must first cut off its ties with Iran before being allowed to set foot in Jordan, the sources said.