The Prime Minister of Jordan has criticised the decision to expel the Hamas leadership and political bureau from Amman several years ago. Awn Al Khasawneh told the audience at the Council of Syndicates' Presidents in the Jordanian capital that the decision was a "constitutional and political mistake".
Jordan expelled five Hamas leaders in 1999. All were and remain Jordanian citizens, including the Islamic Resistance Movement's Political Bureau Chief, Khaled Meshaal. Relations between the two parties deteriorated when the government accused Hamas of intervening in the Kingdom's internal affairs. Disagreements continued to escalate and in 2006 Amman claimed that Hamas was smuggling weapons from Syria into Jordan.
Khasawneh's statements came at a time when analysts are noting signs of improvement in the relationship and predicting an end to the "political boycott" of the Islamic Movement.
According to government spokesman Rakan Al Majali, Jordan's Minister of State for Media Affairs, the Kingdom "deals with Hamas in a positive way, just like other factions; we respect Hamas, recognize its importance and presence in Gaza, and respect what it represents."
Meanwhile, preparations are under way for an official visit to Jordan by Khaled Meshaal in the company of Qatar's Crown Prince Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani; the visit is expected to take place after Eid Al Adha.