Saudi Arabia Opens Airspace to Israeli Jets Ahead of US Prez Joe Biden's Visit

This is the latest gesture of goodwill by Saudi Arabia towards the Jewish nation.

2 min read
Saudi Arabia Opens Airspace to Israeli Jets Ahead of US Prez Joe Biden's Visit

In an apparent gesture of goodwill towards Israel, Saudi Arabia said on Friday, 15 July that it was lifting restrictions on all carriers using its airspace. This comes ahead of United States President Joe Biden's visit to the West Asian country.

This is the latest move of Saudi Arabia towards effecting friendship with Israel, which it had refused to recognise despite the latter's attempt to forge ties with Arab nations.

Taking to Twitter, the country's civil aviation authority said that it was announcing "the decision to open the Kingdom's airspace for all air carriers that meet the requirements of the authority for overflying."

The authority further said that the decision was in line with complementing the kingdom's efforts towards positioning it as a global hub connecting three continents.

Biden To Visit Saudi Arabia on Friday

Israel has long been urging countries to open up their airspace to its jets in order to shorten the duration of flights to Asian countries.

Israeli authorities have also called for Muslim pilgrims in the country to be able to visit Saudi Arabia directly.

Before President Biden's visit to Israel on Wednesday, 13 July, the US had hinted that more Arab countries may soon take steps to forge ties with the Jewish nation, as per AFP.

This had triggered speculation on whether Saudi Arabia would make changes to its traditional position of not recognising Israel, given the latter's conflict with Palestine.

Earlier, the kingdom had not publicly expressed any opposition when its Arab ally, the United Arab Emirates, established bilateral ties with Israel, followed by Morocco and Israel under the Abraham Accords.

Meanwhile, Biden will visit Saudi Arabia's Jeddah on Friday, despite the country previously saying that the kingdom would be treated as a "pariah" over the brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

(With inputs from AFP.)

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Topics:  Israel   Saudi Arabia   Joe Biden 

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