AMMAN: Former US President George W. Bush, along with his wife Laura Bush, has paid an unannounced visit to Jordan.
Ziad Ghnimat, head of the Jordanian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, told Arab News that the couple spent approximately an hour visiting the historic Roman city in Jerash. “After the trip, President Bush expressed his appreciation for all those who helped make the visit a success,” Ghnimat said.
Abdel Naser Zoabi, a civil society activist in Jarash, told Arab News that the people in Jarash were unhappy with the visit.
“We had nothing to say about the visit, the main road was blocked and people were made uncomfortable due to the hovering of the helicopters and the large security measures,” he said.
Osama Rantisi, a publisher of a local website, criticized the security presence. “George Bush is a private citizen now, and there was no need for all these exaggerated security arrangements,” he wrote on Alawalnews.net
Politicians also denounced the visit. Said Diab, the secretary-general of Al-Wihdah Shabieh Party, told Arab News that the visit was a provocation.
“This man is responsible for massacres carried out in Iraq, and Jordanians consider his visit a provocation, so we don’t welcome him to Jordan. His visit angers every Jordanian who feels that the blood of millions in Iraq is on his shoulders.”
A US Embassy spokesman did not comment on the visit, nor did the Royal Court or the government of Jordan.