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Israel’s minister reaches Saudi Arabia, marking first official trip by Israeli cabinet member

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) chairs a cabinet meeting, flanked by Tourism Minister Haim Katz, in Jerusalem on August 27, 2023. — Reuters/File
  • Haim Katz visits Saudi Arabia to attend UN tourism conference.
  • S Arabia insists Palestinians’ right to statehood to recognise Israel.
  • Nayef Al-Sudairi looks forward to bigger cooperation with Palestine.

Israel’s tourism minister reached Saudi Arabia on Tuesday in the first official trip by an Israeli cabinet member to the kingdom to attend a UN tourism conference, according to his office.

Minister Haim Katz has reached Riyadh as part of a two-day trip that comes as Saudi Arabia looks into a potential US-mediated agreement that would establish formal ties with Israel, whose sovereignty it has never formally acknowledged.

The Saudi government did not immediately respond to a request for comment, according to Reuters.

Saudi Arabia’s non-resident ambassador to the Palestinians — a role announced last month — made a first visit to their seat of government in the Israeli-occupied West Bank on Tuesday, presenting credentials also designating him “consul-general in Jerusalem”.

Saudi Arabia has long insisted the recognition of Israel be contingent upon the Palestinians’ right to statehood, a demand that many members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s nationalist religious alliance have long refused.

The ambassador, Nayef Al-Sudairi, told reporters in Ramallah that his visit “reaffirms that the Palestinian cause and Palestine and the people of Palestine are of high and important status and that in the coming days, there will be a chance for a bigger cooperation between Saudi Arabia and the state of Palestine”.

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