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Saudi Arabia to allow Israeli commercial flights to use its airspace: senior Trump official

Middle East envoys Berkowitz and Hook joined Kushner in raising the issue with Riyadh. [Getty]

Date of publication: 1 December, 2020

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This agreement came 'just hours' before the first Israeli commercial flight was due to take flight on Tuesday morning.

Saudi Arabia will allow Israeli airliners to use its airspace after talks on Monday between the country’s officials and a team headed by White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, a senior Trump official cited by Reuters said.

This agreement came "just hours" before the first Israeli commercial flight was due to take flight on Tuesday morning and reports that Riyadh might deny permission for the airliner to use its airspace, according to the news agency.

"We were able to reconcile the issue," the senior official is reported to have said, after Middle East envoys Avi Berkowitz and Brian Hook joined Kushner in raising the issue after landing in Riyadh.

"This should resolve any issues that should occur with Israeli carriers taking people from Israel to the UAE and back and to Bahrain," the official added.

The concession of airspace to Israel is part of ongoing efforts by the US administration to conclude normalisation deals between Israel and Arab states.

The American delegation is to meet Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the emir of Kuwait later this week, which also aims to also persuade Gulf states to end the three-year blockade of Qatar.

Sudan in October became the third Arab country in as many months to announce a normalisation deal with Israel, after the UAE and Bahrain.

Normalisation agreements between Arab states and Israel were slammed by the Palestinians as a "betrayal" for breaking with years of Arab League policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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