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Tags: Emirates | Israel

Saudi Arabia Says Flights To, from UAE Can Fly over Kingdom

Saudi Arabia Says Flights To, from UAE Can Fly over Kingdom

Wednesday, 02 September 2020 08:39 AM

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Saudi Arabia announced Wednesday that flights to and from the United Arab Emirates “from all countries” will now be able to use its airspace — a statement apparently allowing flyovers by Israel following a deal to normalize UAE-Israel relations.

The vaguely worded statement avoided naming Israel directly. However, the announcement came just days after the kingdom allowed the first direct Israeli commercial passenger flight to use its airspace to reach the UAE. Any direct flight between the two nations would need to use Saudi airspace to be commercially viable.

The statement makes no mention of the kingdom’s rival, Iran, nor Qatar, which Saudi Arabia is currently boycotting. Flights between those countries to the Emirates would, in theory, not need to use the kingdom's airspace.

The official Saudi Press Agency said the move comes in response to a “request by the UAE” for flights to and from the country.

Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan wrote on Twitter that the kingdom's “firm and established position toward the Palestinian cause will not change.” However, even he did not directly name Israel in his tweet.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the announcement in an online video, signaling it directly involved his country.

“For years, I have been working to open the skies between Israel and the East,” he said, hailing the “tremendous breakthrough” that Israeli planes can now fly cheaply and quickly from Israel to the Emirati capital of Abu Dhabi and skyscraper-studded city of Dubai. Avoiding Saudi airspace would require a more than seven hour flight.

Earlier this week, Jared Kushner, the U.S. president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, flew with a high-level Israeli delegation to the UAE on the first direct commercial passenger flight between the two countries, a Star of David emblazoned on the jet’s tail. The flight traversed Saudi airspace, signaling at least acquiescence for a breakthrough U.S.-brokered deal by the United Arab Emirates to normalize relations with Israel.

The Saudi announcement comes as Kushner is traveling the Middle East to build on the momentum of the UAE deal and press other Arab countries to establish formal ties with Israel. After leaving Abu Dhabi, he headed to Saudi Arabia, where he discussed “prospects for peace” in the region with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The kingdom is close to the UAE, and, along with other pro-Western Arab governments, shares Israel’s enmity toward Iran.

Katarina Kratovac 2:03 PM

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President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi of Egypt, one of two other Arab states to have full formal diplomatic ties with Israel, reiterated his country’s support for the agreement between Israel and the UAE. In a phone call with Netanyahu, el-Sissi said Egypt supports “any steps” that allow for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state and “provide security to Israel,” according to the Egyptian leader’s office.

Associated Press writers Ilan Ben Zion in Jerusalem and Samy Magdy in Cairo contributed to this report.

© Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


GlobalTalk
Saudi Arabia announced Wednesday that flights to and from the United Arab Emirates "from all countries" will now be able to use its airspace - a statement apparently allowing flyovers by Israel following a deal to normalize UAE-Israel relations. The vaguely worded statement...
Emirates,Israel
484
2020-39-02
Wednesday, 02 September 2020 08:39 AM
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