Israeli minister lands in Saudi Arabia amid recognition efforts

Israel-Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: Israel’s Tourism Minister Haim Katz arrived in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday in a first of its kind high-level public visit, amid efforts for recognition to secure bilateral ties.

According to Israel’s tourism ministry, Katz is the first Israeli minister to head an official delegation in Saudi Arabia. He is scheduled to attend a United Nations World Tourism Organisation event in Riyadh.

Tourism is a bridge between nations. Partnership in tourism issues has the potential to bring hearts together and economic prosperity. I will work to create collaborations to promote tourism and Israel’s foreign relations,” said Katz.

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Katz will participate in several events and panel discussions while at the conference. The minister will also meet with colleagues from other countries, especially other ministers from countries in the region.

The landmark visit comes as Riyadh sent its first delegation to the occupied West Bank in three decades. The delegation arrived in the occupied West Bank on 26 September to ease Palestinian objections to any normalization deal between Riyadh and Tel Aviv.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman stated last week to Fox News that “We are closer every day” to normalization with Israel.”

Last week, Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said “six or seven” Muslim countries could “make peace” with Israel if it signed a peace agreement with Saudi Arabia.

However, normalisation of ties with Israel will be against Saudi Arabia’s decades-long stance of not recognising Israel before the resolution of Palestinian conflict.

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