Middle East

Video shows Jordan-Syria diplomatic tiff

The king began a flurry of activity with court officials immediately after shaking Suleiman’s hand.

BEIRUT: A YouTube video posted this week claims to to show why Jordan decided to expel Syria’s ambassador to Amman earlier this week.

The three-and-a-half minute video, posted on YouTube, has received more than 300,000 views in the first 48 hours it was posted.

The video shows footage taken from Jordanian television, when Sunday, King Abdullah, Queen Rania and Crown Prince Hussein received a stream of well-wishers to celebrate the country’s Independence Day.

Immediately after Syrian Ambassador Bahjat Suleiman shakes hands with the king and moves off, Abdullah quickly summons a palace official and appears to issue a quick order.

The king resumes receiving greetings from a long line of well-wishers for several minutes until he once again has a short interchange with the court official.

The video’s subtitles claim that the king summoned the director of his office, Imad Fakhoury, who then arrives on the scene.

The king briefly confers with Fakhoury, demanding to know how Suleiman was invited to the event.

The subtitling of the video indicates that after eight minutes go by, Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh then arrives and stands off to the side, waiting for a consultation with Abdullah, after Fakhoury failed to provide an explanation.

Jordanian authorities expelled Suleiman one day after the event, in the wake of warnings about his “repeated insults to Jordan and its leadership, institutions and citizens, through his meetings, writings and social media [activity].”

Damascus responded by expelling Jordan’s charge d’affaires, while Jordan’s information minister pledged that despite the move, Syrian-Jordanian ties would not be severed.

Suleiman, after his expulsion, took to his Facebook page to complain that the Jordanian government had “boycotted” the Syrian Embassy in Amman for a period of three years and used “all means of harassment against me.”


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on May 29, 2014, on page 8.




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