Jordan plans to “turn over a new leaf” in its relations with the Palestinian Islamic movement Hamas, hosting Hamas political leader Khaled Mashaal in Amman, a government spokesman said on Thursday.
“The channels are open for normal relations with Hamas, just like our relations with other Palestinian factions,” government spokesman Rakan Majali told the Saudi-owned daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat, adding that Hamas leaders could enter and leave Jordan as they please.
Mashaal will arrive in Amman on Sunday, escorted by the crown prince of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad Aal Thani, and five members of Hamas’s political bureau. He had already visited his ailing mother in Jordan at the end of January, but this is to be his first official visit in over a decade.
Jordan shut down Hamas’s headquarters in Amman in 1999 and Majali said then that the kingdom would not re-open the offices or allow any political activity to resume from Jordan. Mashaal is scheduled to meet Jordanian Prime Minister On Khasawneh and Interior Minister Muhammad Raoud.
Hamas has faced increasing difficulties in recent months; abandoning its headquarters in Damascus and experiencing a political rift within its senior ranks.