Saudi Arabia on Friday announced lifting restrictions on “all airlines” using its airspace, an apparent gesture of openness toward Israel ahead of the US president’s visit. Joe Biden.
The civil aviation authority “announces the decision to open the airspace of the kingdom for all airlines that meet the requirements of the authority to fly over,” the entity said in a statement released by Twitter. Saudi Arabia has been the focus of attention for Biden’s visit, despite the fact that the ruler had said that he would treat the Gulf kingdom as a “pariah” for the 2018 murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Biden plans to travel directly from Israel and Saudi Arabia in the first time that an American president flies from the Jewish State to an Arab country that does not recognize him.
His predecessor Donald Trump did the reverse in 2017.
Riyadh has said it would uphold the Arab League’s traditional stance of not establishing official relations with Israel until the conflict with the Palestinians is resolved. However, the kingdom did not object to its ally the United Arab Emirates (UAE) establishing diplomatic relations with Israel in 2020, followed by Bahrain and Morocco under the Abraham Accords, sponsored by Washington. Shortly after those agreements, Saudi Arabia it allowed an Israeli plane to fly over its territory en route to Abu Dhabi and announced that it would allow the passage of planes from “all countries” headed for the UAE.
Friday’s announcement lifts restrictions on flights to and from Israel and for Israeli planes.
According to the civil aviation authority, the decision was made “to complement the kingdom’s efforts to consolidate its position as a world hub connecting three continents.”
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