Middle East

Jordan's King Abdullah criticises regional leaders

King Abdullah II of Jordan with his wife, Queen Rania
Image caption Jordan itself has avoided the chaos witnessed in other Arab states since 2011

Jordan's King Abdullah II has said Egypt's president has "no depth" of understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In interviews with The Atlantic magazine, the king said Mohamed Morsi was fixated on the Israelis, rather than looking at "the mess" on the Palestinian side.

King Abdullah also served up views of Turkish and Syrian leaders.

The Atlantic article was based on a series of meetings with the king.

The interviews were conducted by US journalist Jeffrey Goldberg.

In one comment, the 51-year-old king said he was wary of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey for being authoritarian, and promoting what he said was just a softer-edged version of Political Islam.

"Erdogan once said that democracy for him is a bus ride," King Abdullah told the magazine. " 'Once I get to my stop, I'm getting off'."

Commenting on the uprising in Syria, King Abdullah said: "If you, as a monarch, have created a situation in which half the population rises up and wants you out, then you've done something wrong."

Jordan is now home to more than 300,000 Syrians who have fled the two-year conflict.

King Abdullah said he would not stop them arriving, saying: "The minute you get a Syrian coming across, there's no way you can turn them back and say our border is closed."

The king said he had offered protection to President Bashar al-Assad and his family if they left Syria, but that they had replied: "'Thank you very much, but why don't you worry about your country more than you worry about us?'"

Jordan itself has avoided the chaos witnessed in other Arab countries in recent years, but saw large protests in 2012 sparked by rising living costs but also calling for political reform.

King Abdullah said he did not want his son, Hussein, to inherit a throne where he will be in a similar position to President Assad.

Instead, he said he wanted Hussein to become king of a Jordan where "the people are happy, and they love the monarchy, just like you saw with the outpouring toward Queen Elizabeth in England".

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