President Joe Biden praised Saudi Arabia’s opening its airspace to Israeli airlines, and said that the move would “help build momentum” toward improving relations between both countries.
Saudi Arabia made the decision to allow Israeli airlines to fly between Saudi Arabia and Israel for the first time ever. This was just before Biden traveled to Saudi Arabia from Israel. Biden stated that he will be the first American president to fly between Israel and Jeddah. The historic decision of Saudi Arabia to allow civilian aircraft to use its airspace is a significant step in building an integrated Middle East region. “While this opening has long been discussed, now, thanks to months of steady diplomacy between my administration and Saudi Arabia, it is finally a reality.”
“As we mark this important moment, Saudi Arabia’s decision can help build momentum toward Israel’s further integration into the region, including with Saudi Arabia. Biden said that he would do everything possible to continue this historic process, including through diplomacy, leader-to-leader engagement and direct diplomacy.
Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid also touted the decision, saying it was “a first step” towards normalizing relations, according to The Times of Israel. (RELATED: ‘No Apologies’: Biden Calls Out Anti-Israel Wing Of Democratic Party)
Meanwhile, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan suggested the deal marked the culmination of a months-long negotiation with Saudi Arabia by the Biden administration. The administration had been working behind the scenes to mediate a deal between Saudi Arabia, Israel and Egypt regarding islands and airspace, Axios reported back in May.
Biden arrives in Saudi Arabia this Friday. He has scheduled meetings with King Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud as well as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.