US President Joe Biden on Friday headed to Saudi Arabia for his most controversial stop on his Middle East tour after spending two days in Israel and Palestine.
Biden is the first US President to fly directly from Israel to Kingdom after Saudi Arabia opened its airspace to all air carriers, signaling the end of its longstanding ban on Israeli flight overflying its terrorist.
Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation in a tweet post said it was announcing “the decision to open the Kingdom’s airspace for all air carriers that meet the requirements of the Authority for overflying.”
Meanwhile, the US welcomed and commended the historic decision by Saudi Arabia to lift restrictions on all carriers using its airspace, including flights to and from Israel.
“This decision paves the way for a more integrated, stable, and secure Middle East region, which is vital for the security and prosperity of the United States and the American people, and for the security and prosperity of Israel,” US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said.
During his trip to Saudi Arabia, Biden will meet with the Kingdom’s de-facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the prince’s father, King Salman. The leaders are expected to discuss topics concerning energy supply, human rights, and security cooperation.
This is the first face-to-face meeting between Biden and Crown Prince Mohammed after deterioration of relations between Washington and Riyadh after US intelligence said they have obtained reports in which Prince Mohammed approved the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents Turkey
However, Prince Mohammed denied any role in the murder, calling it “negative, false and unacceptable.”
Khashoggi was killed while visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018.
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