First Saudi ambassador to Palestine arrives in West Bank

Ramallah, Sep 27 (IANS): The first Saudi Ambassador to Palestine, Naif bin Bandar Al-Sudairi, arrived in the West Bank, media reported.

Leading an official delegation, Al-Sudairi, the non-resident ambassador to Palestine and non-resident consul general in Jerusalem, presented his credentials to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the presidency headquarters in Ramallah, it said on Tuesday.

Al-Sudairi's arrival comes amid Israel's efforts to normalise relations with Saudi Arabia, Xinhua news agency reported.

During their meeting, Abbas welcomed Al-Sudairi and said his visit to Palestine and his appointment as Saudi ambassador to the State of Palestine would contribute to "strengthening the strong fraternal relations that bind the two countries and the two brotherly peoples".

The Saudi Ambassador said he hoped that his visit would be "a successful beginning for strengthening relations in all fields," stressing his country's firm and supportive positions for the Palestinian people and their just cause.

Earlier on Tuesday, Al-Sudairi told reporters in a statement that "the Arab Peace Initiative is the basic point in any upcoming agreement," after being asked about the fate of the initiative in the event of reaching a normalisation deal between Saudi Arabia and Israel.

The Arab Peace Initiative was launched in 2002 after it was drafted by Saudi Arabia and adopted by the Arab League.

The initiative calls for an end to the conflict between Israel and Palestine and the normalisation of relations between Israel and Arab states, in exchange for an Israeli withdrawal from the areas it gained since 1967 and proper settlement to the issue of Palestinian refugees.

The Palestinians demanded the establishment of an independent state alongside Israel in all of the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel in 1967, including the entire West Bank and the Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

The Saudi ambassador also confirmed that his country intends to open a consulate in East Jerusalem soon.



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