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April 05, 2005


Nur al-Cubicle

From L'Orient-Le Jour

King Abdallah II of Jordan has named academic Adana Badran to form a new government in a gesture perceived in political circles as a sign of engagement on the part of the monarch in favor of political reforms in Jordan. President of Philadelphia University, a private institution, Mr. Badran served twice as Deputy Director of UNESCOand as a Jordanian cabinet minister in 1988 and 1989. Mr. Badran speaks fluent Arab, French and English and has written several research papers in the field of Biology. The King chose Mr. Batran for his "wisdom", "maturity", "experience", "knowledge" and "sincere belief in reform."

A brand new face to head the government, the 69 year-old Badran has a reputation for integrity and sobriety among his associates.

The King has also named outgoing Vice Premier Marwan Moasher as Court Minister in charge of royal palace policy dossiers and outgoing Prime Minister Fayçal al-Fayez as Head of Royal Cabinet in charge of administrative affairs.

The new Prime Minister will initiate talks on forming a new government which will be scheduled Wednesday and Thursday, say official sources. The Prime Minister convoked the cabinet Tuesday in an emergency session and requested the resignations of all 27 ministers which King Abdullah accepted, reports the Petra News Agency.

Sources say that among the changes expected is the replacement of the Foreign Minister, Hani Mouki, on the receiving end of much criticism at the Algiers Summit, by a new face, ex-ambassador and Amman Diplomacy Center Director Farouk Kasrawi.

King Abdallah II had criticized the government headed by Fayçal Fayez which was formed in October 2003 and reshuffled one year later for its poor performance, expecially after the March Arab Summit.

In addition, foreign governments, headed by the USA, believed that Jordan had introduced an unsatisfactory number of reforms, say Jordanian political circles. "Although Jordan intended to become the leading Arab state in pioneering reforms, the lack of progress over the last few years consigned it to the back seat", says a Jordanian ex-minister to AFP.

The recent working trip by the Abdallah II to the USA, Jordan's major financial backer, presented US officials with the opportunity of raising the subject of the lack of progress in carrying out reforms with the King, says the same source.

According sources close to the palace, the King was unhappy with the way in which the government handled the recent political crisis with Iraq. Amman was accused by Baghdad of not doing enough to prevent Jordanian terrorists from entering Iraq which resulted in the recall of the Jordanian Ambassador on 22 March. The crisis was provoked by the alleged involvement of a Jordanian in a bloody attack in Hilla, 100 km south of Baghdad, on 28 February. Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari told AFP on 22 March that "Iraqis were very offended by the cavalier manner in which Jordan met their concerns over the incident".

It looks as if the King was told to drop everything and was summoned to Washington because of the diplomatic crisis with Iraq. The unreported remarks by Condi about reforms were likely made to the King in private in Washington and were later discussed publically in Amman.

Nur al-Cubicle

Last paragraph is mine.

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