Arab League Mediates Between Jordan, Qatar over Ghoshe
Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa said on Saturday that his organization was mediating between Jordan and Qatar to settle their dispute over the arrival of an exiled Hamas official in Jordan on Thursday, reported the official Kuwait news agency (KUNA).
Jordanian authorities threatened Saturday to force Ibrahim Ghoshe, a Jordanian citizen and spokesman for the militant Palestinian Hamas group, back on the Qatari aircraft that brought him to Jordan.
Ghoshe, of Palestinian origin, has been locked in a standoff with Jordanian officials since his arrival at Amman's airport in an attempt to return home after living in exile since 1999.
Al Jazeera satellite TV channel reported that the pilot of the Qatar Airways flight on which Ghoshe arrived had received orders to fly back to Doha without him.
But the plane is still parked at the Amman airport, from which it has been refused permission to take off.
Moussa told reporters that he was in contact with Jordanian and Qatari foreign ministers over the matter, adding that he had received a telephone call from Libyan Foreign Minister Ali Al Turaiki, who presented some ideas to settle this dispute.
Moussa underlined the Arab League's concern about the issue, saying “it is not the time to have any kind of conflict between two Arab brotherly countries.”
Meanwhile, Hamas Politburo chief Khalid Mishaal told KUNA that a committee had been formed in Amman to file a suit against the Jordanian government for preventing Ghoshe from entering Jordan.
He said that several Jordanian officials and MPs had voiced their rejection of the government’s decision.
Jordan's decision to block the attempted return to Amman of the exiled spokesman triggering a harsh official Qatari response.
"Airport officials were surprised today to see Ibrahim Ghoshe arrive on board a flight from Doha and told him he could not enter the country in line with an agreement previously reached with the authorities," a source told Jordan's news agency Petra.
Al Jazeera quoted a Qatari Foreign Ministry official as voicing his country's "astonishment" at Jordan's allegations that the banished Islamist had been sent back at the instructions of Qatari authorities.
The source said the plane's pilot informed the Jordanian authorities that he had "strict instructions from the Qatari government not to return Ghoshe to Qatar." But the pilot denied the report, according to the station.
Ghoshe and three other senior Hamas officials, all Jordanian citizens, were deported to Qatar in November 1999 after being held for three months on charges of belonging to an illegal group and threatening Jordan's security.
Jordan, which signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1994, cracked down on Hamas in August 1999, closing its offices in Amman and arresting the leaders and two dozen members. The members were later released.
Mishaal earlier told Al Jazeera that the group had known of Ghoshe's plan and approved it. He also denied that the Qatari government had anything to do with the spokesman's attempted return to Jordan.
Mishaal had told the Qatari paper Al Raya on Wednesday that all mediation efforts aimed at securing his and his colleagues' return to Amman had failed, but vowed they would return "despite the Jordanian authorities' rejection."
Mishaal did not specify a date for his return, but said that the chances for his colleagues Ghoshe, Izzat Rishiq and Sami Khater to return were stronger than his.
The Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood slammed the government for "violating the constitution" by barring a citizen from entering his country - Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)