Why did the prince resign?

تم نشره في Tue 6 May / May 2014. 09:48 AM - آخر تعديل في Tue 6 May / May 2014. 09:49 AM

By Fahed Khitan

It happened suddenly and swiftly; a brief statement by the spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign and Expatriate Affairs, announcing the resignation of Prince Raad bin Zeid from his post as Permanent Representative of Jordan to the United Nations.

Two days later, the prince gave a brief comment at the UN, confirming the news. We did not understand, from the two statements, whether the prince resigned of his own volition, or was asked to do so.

But the following days were enough to explain a large part of the truth.

Prince Zeid is veteran diplomat; he worked for many years in the Jordanian mission in New York, and before in Geneva. He served as Jordan's ambassador in Washington for a short time, before returning again to the United Nations. He even competed for the position of Secretary -General of the United Nations, in a move seen at the time as a misadventure.

After Jordan was granted rotating membership in the Security Council early this year, and for two years, none thought that the prince would leave his position in such circumstances. However, the available data indicate that he resigned or threatened to do it more than once. The last time, it was accepted without debate.

After submitting his resignation, information associating it with his health conditions surfaced, then showed to be untrue. Indeed, it seems chronic and cumulative differences with the foreign ministry prompted the prince to resign, if he was not asked to resign indirectly.

Officials at various levels are no longer interested in the prince retaining his position. Observers commented on the apparent downturn in the relationship between Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh and the prince.

Some officials hold against the prince not conforming to Jordan’s official position in his interventions in the Security Council; like Syria-related issues, for example, where the prince’s position is characterized by its exaggerated stance against the Syrian regime. In regard to the Ukrainian crisis, Prince Zeid made ​​biased comments, that went beyond the official position, and coincided with the planned visit of King Abdullah II to Moscow last month.

The Jordanian press delegation who attended the general session of the Security Council on the Middle East, headed by the foreign minister earlier this year, observed up close the lack of harmony between Judeh and the prince. Arguing that he was following on the developments concerning the "Geneva II" conference on the Syrian crisis, prince Zeid was not present for the bulk of the session of the Security Council, and did not sit even once behind the foreign minister.

Through my observations, along with a number of colleagues in New York, on Jordan’s presidency of the Security Council’s monthly cycle, we felt that the foreign ministry had their own assessment of the performance of the Jordanian head of the mission, which does not necessarily conform with the general impression prevailing in the political and media circles in Jordan.

It is likely that those interested in the topic will not think about the resignation of prince Zeid for long — what is more interesting is the identity of the diplomat who will succeed the prince.

The government cannot leave the vacancy open for long — firstly because of how important it is, and secondly because of Jordan’s membership in the UN Security Council. Therefore, the prince’s successor must be chosen before the end of next month.

There is a limited number of qualified people for this vacancy; most notably the Jordanian ambassador in Cairo, and the expert in international law, Bishr Khasawneh. But there are officials who is pondering some bold choices, hoping to hit two birds with one stone.



This article is an edited translation from the Arabic edition.