News Investigators/ Saudi Arabia said on Wednesday that it would allow all flights to and from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to use its airspace, weeks after the UAE agreed to normalise ties with Israel.
The monarchy’s civil aviation authorities approved a UAE request to allow flights coming to and from all countries to fly over Saudi airspace, Saudi Arabia’s state news agency SPA reported.
The official did not name Israel, with which Saudi Arabia has no diplomatic ties.
Israel has historically avoided flying over Saudi airspace, and in the past, Israeli airlines have had to make detours to reach destinations in Asia.
On Aug. 13, Israel and the UAE announced a U.S.-brokered agreement to establish diplomatic ties in return for Israel suspending a controversial plan to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.
On Monday, the first direct commercial flight between Israel and the UAE landed in Abu Dhabi.
That flight flew over Saudi Arabia for the first time, with Riyadh’s permission.
Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal Al-Saud said on Wednesday that his country’s “firm and established” stance towards Palestinians would not change, even though Riyadh had allowed flights to and from the UAE from all destinations to use its airspace.
“The kingdom also appreciates all efforts aimed at fulfilling a fair and durable peace according to the Arab peace initiative,” he tweeted.
His words were seen as backing the 2002 Arab peace plan which offers Israel peace and full diplomatic relations if an independent Palestinian state is established with East Jerusalem as its capital.
The deal between Israel and the UAE makes the latter the third Arab country to have diplomatic links with Israel after Egypt and Jordan – and the first in the Arabian Gulf. (dpa/NAN)