Saudi Arabia appoints first-ever envoy to Ramallah and Jerusalem

August 13, 2023 by TPS
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Saudi Arabia has appointed its first-ever non-resident envoy to the Palestinian Authority, who will double as consul general to Jerusalem.

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, April 18, 2023. Source: Saudi Foreign Ministry/Twitter.

Nayef al-Sudairi, who is currently Riyadh’s ambassador to Jordan, presented his credentials to P.A. chief Mahmoud Abbas’s diplomatic adviser Majdi al-Khalidi during a meeting at Ramallah’s mission in Amman over the weekend.

“This important step will strengthen the strong relations that bind our two brotherly peoples,” Khalidi said in a statement on Saturday.

He also expressed Ramallah’s appreciation for the “firm stance of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia towards the Palestinian people, and its permanent support for the Palestinian cause in all international forums.”

Al-Sudairi is a cousin of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and is considered close to the royal family.

Because Saudi Arabia does not have a diplomatic mission in Jerusalem, the appointment does not require approval from Israel, which considers the city its undivided capital.

The development comes amid efforts by the United States to forge an Israeli-Saudi normalization deal.

Persian Gulf sources close to Saudi decision-makers and sources close to Netanyahu have voiced conflicting views to the Tazpit Press Service regarding the Palestinian linkage. According to the sources in the Gulf, the Saudis are conditioning normalization with progress on the Palestinian front, but the Israeli sources say Riyadh has made no such stipulations.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has downplayed claims that the Palestinian issue played a significant role in negotiations.

Israelis believe the Saudis are primarily interested in American security guarantees against Iran, advanced weapons, and US assistance in building a civilian nuclear program. Israeli policy currently opposes Saudi access to advanced US weapons. However, the United Arab Emirates began receiving advanced US and Israeli weapons after signing the Abraham Accords in 2020.

Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid said on Thursday that any agreement allowing the Saudis to launch their own uranium enrichment program would “lead to a regional nuclear arms race.”


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