West Bank, (The Palestine Information Centre)The first Saudi ambassador to Palestine, Nayef al-Sudairi, who arrived in the occupied territories on Monday, is to present his credentials to President Mahmoud Abbas within days.
Palestinian media reports said Hussein al-Sheikh, Secretary-General of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), welcomed the ambassador on Monday.
“We welcome His Excellency the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the State of Palestine, who will present his official credentials to His Excellency President Mahmoud Abbas within a few days,” the Palestinian official said.
The Palestinian Foreign Ministry also confirmed that Sudairi will visit Ramallah, seat of the Palestinian Authority, on Tuesday and Wednesday. “The visit is a historic step to consolidate and develop bilateral relations between the two countries and to open more horizons for joint cooperation in all fields.”
On August 13, Sudairi, the kingdom’s current ambassador to Jordan, was named as non-resident envoy to Palestine and consul general in al-Quds. Israel back then rejected the idea of a diplomatic base in al-Quds for Saudi Arabia’s envoy.
The regime claims al-Quds as its own capital, a status recognized by the United States under then President Donald Trump in 2017 but not by other world countries. Israeli authorities bar Palestinian diplomatic activity in the city.
The Saudi ambassador’s appointment came amid reports that the Persian Gulf kingdom is considering the prospect of establishing formal diplomatic relations with Israel under US pressure.
President Joe Biden has said a deal may be on the way after a series of talks his national security adviser had with Saudi officials in Jeddah aimed at fixing relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel.
US officials have sought for months to broker what would be a historic agreement between the two apparent adversaries – through behind-the-scenes allies – but the Saudis have remained resistant so far.
Saudi Arabia seems to be reluctant toward normalization with Israel and is taking a cautious approach to any public steps that could be seen as a normalization act.
US efforts have been complicated as the Israeli regime has played down any prospect of giving significant ground to the Palestinians as part of a normalization deal with Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia had a Consulate General in al-Quds, but it was closed with Israel’s occupation of the city in 1967.