Saudi Arabia opens airspace for overflying by all airlines

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Picture used for illustrative purpose.

In a groundbreaking development, Saudi Arabia announced on Friday it was lifting curbs on “all carriers” using its airspace. The move is being construed as an apparent gesture of openness towards Israel hours before US President Joe Biden’s arrival in Riyadh.

Biden welcomed the “historic” decision, the latest conciliatory move by Saudi Arabia concerning the Jewish state. Saudi still does not recognise Israel despite efforts by the Jewish state to forge ties with Arab countries.

Biden said in a statement on Friday that Riyadh’s move came “thanks to months of steady diplomacy between my administration and Saudi Arabia.”

The kingdom did not show any opposition when its regional ally, the United Arab Emirates, established diplomatic ties with Israel in 2020, followed by Bahrain and Morocco under the US-brokered Abraham Accords.

Biden will travel to the Saudi city of Jeddah on the Red Sea coast on Friday afternoon, according to Agence France-Presse. He is to travel directly from the Jewish state to Saudi Arabia – becoming the first US president to fly from there to an Arab nation that does not recognise it.

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