Saudi delegation to visit West Bank this week to meet Palestinian President Abbas

The National  /  September 25, 2023

Naid al-Sudairi, the kingdom’s non-resident ambassador to Palestine, will lead the talks.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is this week set to meet a Saudi delegation in the occupied West Bank, as part of efforts to draw a deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia, according to a Palestinian official.

Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Jordan, Naif al-Sudairi, who was appointed as non-resident ambassador to the Palestinians, will lead the delegation, the Palestinian official told Reuters.

Officials in Saudi Arabia and Israel have said efforts were being made to reach an agreement to establish relations between the two countries.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in an interview with Fox News, said the two sides were getting “closer” to establishing relations.

But US officials have said that any deal, expected to include a defence agreement with Washington and a civilian nuclear program for Saudi Arabia, was some distance away.

Among the issues to be resolved is the Palestinian question, with calls for a revival of a peace process leading to a two-state solution with an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel.

Matthew Miller, a US State Department spokesman, told CNN last week that the US has had “productive conversations” with the Saudi and Israeli governments on establishing ties.

US-brokered peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians broke down in 2014 and relations between the two sides have plummeted amid a tide of violence.

Last week, Abbas said at the UN General Assembly that no Middle East peace agreement would be achievable until Palestinians were granted full rights.

Saudi Arabian’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan also called for a revival of the push for a two-state solution.