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Blinken voices support for Jordan's King Abdullah in call

US President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken have both called the Jordanian monarch this week
King Abdullah said on Wednesday that the alleged plot against him is over (AFP/File photo)
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Washington

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called and voiced support for Jordan's King Abdullah on Thursday, a day after President Joe Biden held a phone conversation with the Jordanian monarch, the State Department said.

The two calls from the US administration over two days come amid an alleged plot against the Jordanian King whose exact details remain unknown.

"The Secretary reaffirmed the US commitment to its strategic partnership with Jordan and commended King Abdullah II for Jordan's steadfast leadership promoting peace and stability in the Middle East," State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement describing the call between Blinken and the monarch.

"The United States deeply values the strong bilateral cooperation and longtime friendship between our two countries."

King Abdullah said on Wednesday that the crisis ushered by the supposed sedition involving his half-brother, former Crown Prince Hamzah, was over.

In a written statement issued by his office, the king said Hamzah had been dealt with by the royal family - without revealing details about the situation.

"The challenge of the past days was not the most difficult or most dangerous to the stability of our country, but for me, it was the most painful because the parties of the agitation were inside our one home and outside of it," the king said. 

"Nothing compares to what I felt of shock, pain and anger - as a brother and as the head of the Hashimite family and as a leader for the dear [Jordanian] people."

Support from Washington

On Saturday, Jordan arrested 20 people, including Hassan bin Zayed, a member of the royal family, and Bassem Awadallah, a former top official, over what it called threats to the "security and stability" of the kingdom.

It is not clear what the nature of the alleged plot was or if Prince Hamzah was connected to it.

The Washington Post reported earlier this week that a Saudi delegation visiting Amman requested the release of Awadallah, who serves as an advisor to Riyadh's powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The Saudi officials wanted to take Awadallah back to the kingdom, the Post cited a Middle Eastern intelligence official as saying.

Jordan's King Abdullah says sedition quashed, country stable
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Earlier this week, Prince Hamzah pledged allegiance to the king. It remains unclear whether the prince's saga is related to the arrest of Awadallah and others.

"Prince Hamzah has committed to the family to follow the path of our forefathers and to be loyal to their message and to put the interests of Jordan and its constitution and laws above all other agendas," King Abdullah said on Wednesday.

"Hamzah is today in his palace with his family in my care."

The calls from the US president and secretary of state to King Abdullah signal unambiguous support from Washington to the monarch.

"President Joseph R Biden, Jr spoke today with King Abdullah II of Jordan to express strong US support for Jordan and underscore the importance of King Abdullah II's leadership to the United States and the region," the White House said in a statement on Wednesday.

"Together they discussed the strong bilateral ties between Jordan and the United States, Jordan's important role in the region, and strengthening bilateral cooperation on multiple political, economic, and security issues."