Palestinian Authority welcomes first Saudi ambassador to Palestine

Al-Jazeera  /  September 26, 2023 

Appointment of the non-resident Saudi envoy to Palestine hailed as a ‘historic milestone for relations between the two countries’.

The first Saudi ambassador to Palestine, Nayef al-Sudairi, has presented his credentials to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Al-Sudairi and his accompanying delegation arrived in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday through the Karama crossing from Jordan on a two-day official visit that will end on Wednesday.

He met with Abbas, as well as other senior Palestinian officials.

On Monday, the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcomed the visit of the Saudi ambassador, considering it “a historic milestone for developing fraternal relations between the two sister countries”.

“We welcome his excellency the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the State of Palestine, who will present his official credentials,” PLO Secretary-General Hussein al-Sheikh said, according to Palestinian news agency WAFA.

Presenting credentials

Last August, Al-Sudairi, who is Saudi Arabia’s current ambassador to Jordan, was appointed non-resident envoy to Palestine and consul general in Jerusalem.

A copy of his credentials was presented on August 12 to Majdi al-Khalidi, diplomatic adviser to the Palestinian president, at a ceremony at the Embassy of Palestine in Amman, Jordan, in the presence of Atallah Khairi, ambassador of Palestine to Jordan.

His credentials identified Al-Sudairi as “Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz to the State of Palestine, and Consul General of the Kingdom in Jerusalem”, according to WAFA.

At the time, Israel rejected the notion of establishing a Saudi consulate in Jerusalem, with Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen saying Al-Sudairi could meet PA representatives in Jerusalem but would have no fixed presence.

Israel claims Jerusalem as its own capital, a status recognized by the United States under then-President Donald Trump in 2017 but not by the international community.

Israeli authorities prohibit any Palestinian diplomatic activity in the city.

The first Saudi ambassador to Palestine

Al-Sudairi will be Saudi Arabia’s first ambassador to Palestine.

The appointment of the Saudi ambassador comes amid reports that the Gulf kingdom is mulling official diplomatic relations with Israel in response to US pressure.

However, according to US, Israeli, and Saudi officials, such a deal is still a long way off because of a number of complex concerns, such as Saudi nuclear power development and Israeli operations in the occupied West Bank.

Riyadh has repeatedly stated that it will adhere to the Arab League’s position of not having relations with Israel until the Palestinian crisis is resolved.



West Bank: Saudi delegation arrives amid talk of normalization with Israel

Middle East Monitor  /  September 26, 2023

A delegation from Saudi Arabia arrived in the occupied West Bank this morning amid talk that the Kingdom is on the verge of normalizing relations with the apartheid state of Israel. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the delegation was led by the non-resident envoy to the Palestinian territories, Nayef al-Sudairi.

Following his arrival in Ramallah, Al-Sudairi, who is a cousin of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, presented his credentials to the Palestinian Authority Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, Riyad al-Maliki.

Al-Sudairi expressed his country’s commitment to the establishment of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. “Saudi Arabia has great interest in the Palestinian issue and its solution on the basis of international legitimacy,” the ambassador added. Arab48 reported him as emphasizing that, “Any peace process [normalization with Israel] will have the [2002] Arab Peace Initiative as its main pillar.”

When asked by the media about the potential reopening of the Saudi Consulate in Jerusalem, Al-Sudairi responded, “We hope so.” He noted that the Kingdom had previously had a consulate in Sheikh Jarrah in Jerusalem.

“The Saudi ambassador’s visit to Palestine reflects the development of bilateral relations and the great interest of the leadership of the two countries,” said Al-Maliki. “We welcome the Saudi ambassador to Palestine, and we are ready to begin working to develop relations between the two countries. The Palestinian issue is the central issue for all Arabs, and certainly for Saudi Arabia.”

The visit comes after Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said independently last week that efforts are underway to reach an agreement to normalize relations between their countries.

However, US officials noted that normalization is still a long way off because it is expected to include a defence agreement with Washington and a civilian nuclear program for Saudi Arabia.