Saudi delegation visits Jordan amid coup

TEHRAN, Apr. 06 (MNA) – During a visit to Amman yesterday, a high-ranking Saudi delegation led by the Foreign Minister called on Jordanian officials to release Bassem Awadallah, one of the prominent Jordanians arrested.

Speculation about that foreign connection intensified in Amman after an unscheduled visit to Jordan by a high-ranking Saudi delegation, headed by a Saudi minister for foreign affairs, that arrived Monday.

During meetings with Jordanian counterparts, the Saudi officials requested the release of Bassem Awadullah, one of the prominent Jordanians arrested Saturday, according to a senior Middle Eastern intelligence official whose government monitored the events.

The Saudis requested permission for the visit a few hours after news of the alleged plot began to leak Saturday, the official said.

After the meetings with Jordanians on Monday, the Saudi delegation retired to an Amman hotel while continuing to request that Awadullah be allowed to depart with them to Saudi Arabia, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of diplomatic sensitivities.

Biden administration officials were briefed Monday about the meetings between the Saudis and Jordanians, according to a former senior U.S. official familiar with the situation.

Emails requesting comment from the Saudi Embassy in Washington did not receive an immediate response.

Awadullah is a Jordanian national and former top adviser to Abdullah. Before Awadullah’s arrest, he had served as the monarch’s special envoy to Saudi Arabia, which granted him a Saudi passport. The Middle Eastern intelligence official said the Saudi insistence on Awadullah’s immediate release — before any judicial process or the filing of formal charges — raised eyebrows in the region.

“The Saudis were saying that they won’t leave the country without him,” the official said. “It would appear that they are worried about what he would say.”

HJ/PR

News Code 171771

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