Saudi Arabia opens its airspace to Israel, normalization in the air

Saudi Arabia announced on Friday the opening of its airspace to “all carriers”, a few hours before the arrival of US President Joe Biden in the kingdom. This warming reflects a desire to strengthen ties between the leader of Muslim countries and the Jewish state.

Analysts see this as a telltale sign of an upcoming normalization. Joe Biden immediately commented, hailing a “historic decision”.

Joe Biden “welcomes the historic decision by the leaders of Saudi Arabia to open their airspace to all civilian carriers without discrimination”, including “flights to and from Israel”, his national security adviser said in a statement. , Jake Sullivan.

But it is especially on the Israeli side that the announcement was best received. The airspace that will be open to “all carriers”, including Israelis, will “strengthen” relations between the Jewish state and countries in the Middle East, said Israeli Transport Minister Merav Michaeli.

“It is now official. Israeli flights will be allowed in Saudi Arabian airspace (…) which will strengthen relations between Israel and other countries in the Middle East,” she said in a statement.

On Friday, the Saudi Civil Aviation Authority announced on Twitter “its decision to open the kingdom’s airspace to all air carriers” meeting the regulatory overflight conditions.

This decision was taken to “consolidate the kingdom’s position as a global hub”, explained the same source in a press release, at a time when Saudi Arabia does not officially recognize the Jewish state.

The American president will therefore take a direct flight from Tel Aviv to Jeddah, to inaugurate this new measure which presages normalization. In this sense, he hailed a “historic decision”.

According to* White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, “This decision paves the way for a more integrated, stable, and secure Middle East region, which is vital to the security and prosperity of the United States and of the American people, and for the security and prosperity of Israel.

The day before the announcement, former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed that behind the scenes Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman played an important role in the wave of normalization with several Arab countries.

During a press conference on the occasion of Joe Biden’s visit to Israel, Netanyahu expressed his “gratitude to the crown prince” for his “contribution to the four peace agreements” concluded with Arab states.

As a reminder, agreements for the normalization and resumption of relations were signed with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan, at the time of Benjamin Netanyahu and former American President Donald Trump.

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