Jordan's prince vows loyalty, king accepts mediation in palace row
Jordan's Prince Hamzah pledged loyalty to the king on Monday as the monarch accepted mediation over a rift within the royal family that saw the prince placed under house arrest, the palace said.
The government has accused Hamzah, an ex-crown prince and half-brother of King Abdullah II, of a "wicked" plot and involvement in a seditious conspiracy to "destabilise the kingdom's security".
Hamzah, detained along with at least 16 others, had earlier struck a defiant tone saying he had been placed under house arrest inside his Amman palace, but insisting he would not obey orders restricting his movement.
But in an apparent easing of the palace turmoil, the 41-year-old prince pledged his backing to King Abdullah.
"I will remain... faithful to the legacy of my ancestors, walking on their path, loyal to their path and their message and to His Majesty," he said in a signed letter, quoted by the palace. "I will always be ready to help and support His Majesty the King and his Crown Prince," he is quoted as writing.
Hamzah's statement came shortly after the palace said Abdullah had agreed to enter mediation "to handle the question of Prince Hamzah within the framework of the Hashemite (ruling) family".
The job of mediator was handed to his uncle, Prince Hassan, himself a former heir to the throne.
Hamzah – whom Abdullah stripped of the title of crown prince in 2004 – has emerged as a vocal critic, accusing Jordan's leadership of corruption, nepotism and authoritarian rule.
In a video he sent to the BBC on Saturday, he lashed out at "incompetence that has been prevalent in our governing structure for the last 15 to 20 years and has been getting worse".
"No-one is able to speak or express opinion on anything without being bullied, arrested, harassed and threatened," he charged.
Hamzah denied being involved in any "nefarious" plot, but said he had his phone and internet cut by Jordan's armed forces chief-of-staff, General Youssef Huneiti.
Abdullah, 59, named Hamzah crown prince in 1999, in line with their father's dying wish, but later stripped him of the title and named his own son Prince Hussein heir to the throne.
Hamzah's mother, American-born Queen Noor, defended her son, tweeting that she was "praying that truth and justice will prevail for all the innocent victims of this wicked slander".
Analyst Ahmad Awad said the turbulent events were "a first" for Jordan. "This is the beginning of a crisis and not the end," said the head of the Phenix Center for Economic and Informatics research institute in Amman. "This shows that there is a need for political, economic and democratic reforms."
The crisis has laid bare divisions in a country usually seen as a bulwark of stability in the Middle East.
Washington, major Gulf powers, Egypt and the Arab League have all pledged support for Abdullah, and a similar message came from Russia on Monday. (AFP)