Jordan, Iraq Expel Envoys in Tit for Tat

From Associated Press

The government here has expelled an Iraqi diplomat accused of harassing exiled Iraqis, and Baghdad retaliated by ejecting a Jordanian envoy, underlining the friction between the two former allies.

Jordan on Friday ordered out Hussein Faraj, an employee in the Iraqi Embassy's press section, for "actions incompatible with diplomatic norms," government spokesman Marwan Mouasher said Monday.

Mouasher offered no details of what prompted Faraj's expulsion, but security sources said he had been harassing Iraqi exiles in Jordan. Arab diplomatic sources said he has already left Jordan.

Mouasher said Iraq expelled Raid Hamouri, an embassy administrator in Baghdad who does not have diplomatic status.

Relations between the two Arab neighbors have deteriorated in recent months over Amman's public criticism of the Baghdad government, its support of groups seeking to topple Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and its policy of asylum for Iraqi defectors.

Jordan, previously ostracized for sympathizing with Hussein during the 1990-91 Persian Gulf crisis, since has benefited from increasing U.S. support and improved relations with Gulf Arab states.

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