“Israeli” Tourism Minister Becomes First to Make Public Visit to Saudi Arabia
Story Code : 1084318
Katz will be in Riyadh for two days, with his office reporting him as saying that “tourism is a bridge between nations”.
“I will work to advance cooperation, tourism and the foreign relations of ‘Israel’,” he said.
He also issued a statement saying that this marks the beginning of future collaborations.
"I will work to create collaborations to promote tourism and ‘Israel’s’ foreign relations," the statement read.
The minister is set to take part in a number of events and discussions at the conference, and meet with other ministers coming from different countries across the Middle East.
Katz has been working to strengthen the entity’s position within the WTO after the state was elected to an official position in the UN organization for the first time.
The visit comes as a Saudi delegation arrived in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday in a visit aimed at easing potential Palestinian objections to any normalization deal between Riyadh and the “Israeli” entity.
Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Jordan, Nayef al-Sudairi, who also serves Palestine, said the kingdom is "working towards establishing a Palestinian state with East al-Quds [Jerusalem] as its capital".
Sudairi met with Palestinian Authority’s Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki, according to the foreign ministry in Ramallah. He will also be meeting with Palestinian Authority [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas.
Last year, Saudi Arabia also announced that it had opened its airspace to all civilian overflights just hours before Joe Biden became the first US president to directly fly from the “Israeli” entity to the kingdom.
At the time, Biden hailed the Saudi move as a “historic decision” and credited his administration with helping to bring the deal about.
Before the announcement, Saudi Arabia had barred overflights from both “Israeli” and non-“Israeli” companies that were travelling to or from the “Israeli” entity.
The move was one amidst a flurry of overtures between Saudi Arabia and the “Israeli” entity. Saudi and “Israeli” figures have made public comments expressing their optimism that a deal is within reach.