Egypt’s President El-Sisi makes whirlwind visit to Jordan

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King Abdullah II of Jordan (L) and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi review an honor guard at Marka International Aiport, in the Jordanian capital Amman on January 13, 2018. (AFP)
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King Abdullah II of Jordan (R) welcomes Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi at Marka International Aiport, in the Jordanian capital Amman on January 13, 2018. (AFP)
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King Abdullah II of Jordan (R) and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi review an honor guard at Marka International Aiport, in the Jordanian capital Amman on January 13, 2018. / AFP / Khalil MAZRAAWI
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Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi arrives at Marka International Aiport, in the Jordanian capital Amman on January 13, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 13 January 2019
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Egypt’s President El-Sisi makes whirlwind visit to Jordan

  • Egypt might try to lobby Jordan to push the Palestinians into accepting the US peace plan
  • Egypt and Jordan must prepare for what comes next in Syria, says expert

AMMAN: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has visited Jordan to meet King Abdullah II to discuss regional political and economic issues, as well as Palestine and Syria.
Mamdouh Abadi, the former Jordanian prime minister, told Arab News he believed the visit was largely about Iran and Syria. “The timing of the visit, just after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s tour of the region, makes me think the visit was not about Palestine, but about Syria.” 
Veteran politician Abadi added: “I am happy there was a visit. I hope that President El-Sisi discusses Syria with others. Now that the UAE has restored ties with Damascus, this should loosen the regional boycott of Syria.”
Lamis Andoni, a veteran commentator on US-Arab relations, told Arab News he thought there was a clear link between the visit of Pompeo and suggestions of the creation of a pan-Arab military alliance.
“Jordan has no choice but to improve relations with Egypt. Egypt and Jordan must prepare for what comes next in Syria.”
Andoni believes that the problems lie with the Trump administration’s haphazard foreign policy. “All of a sudden, Washington decides something, and wants regional partners to produce results according to its vision,” he said. “If an Arab ‘NATO’ force is created, will it be asked to help remove Iran from Syria?”
Anis F. Kassim, editor of the Palestinian Yearbook of International Law, however, was not convinced that the Palestinian issue was not discussed at the meeting in Amman. 
Kassim told Arab News he worried Egypt might try to lobby Jordan to push the Palestinians into accepting the US peace plan. “Jordan has been a strong opponent to the ‘Deal of the Century,’ and when it comes to Jerusalem it is more principled than the Palestinian leadership,” he said.
The meeting in Amman was also attended by Jordan’s crown prince, Hussein Bin Abdullah, the Jordanian foreign minister Ayman Safadi, and Egyptian foreign minister Sameh Shoukry.


Erdogan’s ‘vile’ comments on Christchurch mosques shootings dismissed as not representative of Muslims

Updated 21 March 2019
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Erdogan’s ‘vile’ comments on Christchurch mosques shootings dismissed as not representative of Muslims

  • Turkish president has threatened to "send home in coffins" visitors from Australia, New Zealand
  • Aussie and NZ leaders want Turkey to explain the "vile" and "offensive" remarks

JEDDAH: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was condemned on Wednesday for “vile, offensive and reckless” comments after last week’s Christchurch mosque terrorist attacks.

Australia summoned the Turkish ambassador in Canberra to explain the remarks, and New Zealand dispatched its foreign minister to Ankara to “set the record straight, face to face.”

Brenton Tarrant, 28, an Australian white supremacist, was charged with murder on Saturday after he shot dead 50 people during Friday prayers at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Erdogan, in election campaign rallies for his AK Party, urged New Zealand to restore the death penalty and said Turkey would make the killer pay if New Zealand did not.

He said anti-Muslim Australians who came to Turkey would be “sent back in coffins, like their grandfathers at Gallipoli,” and he accused Australian and New Zealand forces of invading Turkey during the First World War “because it is Muslim land.”

But an international affairs scholar in Riyadh said Erdogan’s comments should not be taken as representative of Muslims. 

"He is a propagandist and an unpredictable politician,” Dr. Hamdan Al-Shehri told Arab News. “He keeps saying these things and then he issues an apology. Right now, he is making these incendiary comments to win elections.”

It was inappropriate behavior for a head of state, Al-Shehri said. “Which president would use such language and issue these kind of comments?”

In his speech, Erdogan said that the Gallipoli peninsula campaign in 1915 was in fact an attempt by British colonial forces to relieve their Russian allies. The attack was a military disaster, and more than 11,000 Australian and New Zealand forces were killed. Thousands of people from both countries travel each year to Turkey for war memorial services, and the anniversary is marked on Anzac Day every April 25.

“Remarks have been made by the Turkish President Erdogan that I consider highly offensive to Australians and highly reckless in this very sensitive environment,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said after summoning the Turkish ambassador and dismissing the “excuses” offered.

“I am expecting, and I have asked, for these comments to be clarified, to be withdrawn.” Morrison described claims about Australia and New Zealand’s response to the white supremacist attack as “vile.” He accused Erdogan of betraying the promise of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk to forge peace between the two countries.

A memorial at Gallipoli carries Ataturk’s words: “There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets ... after having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.”

“Ataturk sought to transform his country into a modern nation and an embracing nation, and I think these comments are at odds with that spirit,” Morrison said.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said her deputy, Foreign Minister Winston Peters, would travel to Turkey to seek clarification of Erdogan’s comments. “He is going there to set the record straight, face-to-face,” she said.