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Middle East

Jordan king lashes out at regional leaders

King Abdullah II launches verbal attack but palace says words in interview with US magazine were "taken out of context".
Last Modified: 21 Mar 2013 02:37
The royal palace in Amman issued a statement saying the report by The Atlantic "contained many errors" [Reuters]

Jordan's King Abdullah II launched a broadside against regional leaders in an interview in a US magazine, saying Egypt's president has "no depth" in reading the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and that Turkey's premier sees democracy as a "bus ride".

In remarks published by The Atlantic on Tuesday the king also said "wolves in sheep's clothing" ran the Muslim Brotherhood, criticising some Western allies for failing to understand that.

The palace said the king's words were "taken out of context" as he later reserved some harsh words for Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.

"I was trying to explain to him how to deal with Hamas, how to get the peace process moving, and he was like: 'The Israelis will not move.'

"I said: 'Listen, whether the Israelis move or don't move, it's how we get Fatah and Hamas [the rival Palestinian factions] together," the king told The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg.

"There's no depth to the guy."

He said Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan "once said that democracy for him is a bus ride. 'Once I get to my stop, I'm getting off'."

"Instead of the Turkish model, taking six or seven years - being an Erdogan - Morsi wanted to do it overnight," the king added.

Asked if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was "a bit of a provincial", the king replied: "There was a dinner with me and him and the king of Morocco, at the king's residence in Cairo. And so Bashar at dinner turns to us and says, 'Can you guys explain to me what jet lag is'?"

"He never heard of jet lag."

King Abdullah, whose country is a key US ally, believes his Western allies are naive about the Brotherhood's intentions, saying he was told that "the only way you can have democracy is through the Muslim Brotherhood", the report said.

"I see a Muslim Brotherhood crescent developing in Egypt and Turkey," he added.

"The Arab Spring highlighted a new crescent in the process of development," he added, insisting that "our major fight" is to prevent that.

The royal palace in Amman issued a statement saying the report "contained many errors and the king's remarks were taken out of context".

"The writer reflected his own analyses, attributing remarks to the king in an inaccurate and dishonest way," it said.

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