Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister says decision to lift flight restrictions not related to Israel ties

Saudi Arabias Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan (File image)

Photo : AP

Riyadh: Saudi Arabia‘s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan on Saturday said that the decision to lift restrictions on all carriers using its airspace was not related to the normalisation of ties with Israel. Speculations were rife that Saudi Arabia took the decision to push toward future ties with Israel.

Putting end to all the speculations, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister told a news conference that the decision had nothing to do with diplomatic ties with Israel. “It’s not in any way a precursor to any further steps,” said Farhan as quoted by AFP.

Prince Farhan addressed the news conference after US President Joe Biden‘s visit to Saudi Arabia, where he took part in a summit of Arab nations. The Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister also stressed that no decision regarding any military cooperation with Israel had been taken during the summit.
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On Friday, Saudi Arabia opened its airspace to “all air carriers,” allowing Israeli airlines to use its airspace. The development came at the time of US President Joe Biden’s visit to the Middle East region, including Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Earlier in the day, Israel’s regional cooperation minister Esawi Freij, said he could foresee that his country’s Muslim minority would be able to fly directly to Saudi Arabia for pilgrimage by next year., reported Reuters.

According to reports, relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia are likely to improve due to their shared concern over Iran. However, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is maintaining the stance that Israel should guarantee Palestinian rights and demands for statehood.