RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said Israelis were not welcome to visit the kingdom after Israel decreed that Israeli citizens could visit Saudi Arabia under certain circumstances, CNN reported on Monday.
“Our policy is fixed. We do not have relations with the state of Israel and Israeli passport holders cannot visit the kingdom at the current time,” the US broadcaster quoted Prince Faisal bin Farhan as saying.
A statement from Israel’s interior minister on Sunday said Israelis – if invited and permitted by Saudi authorities – would be allowed to travel there for religious reasons on pilgrimage or for up to nine days for business reasons such as investment or meetings.
Israelis, mostly Muslims going on pilgrimage, have for years been visiting the kingdom, which hosts the two holiest sites in Islam, but usually with special permission or using foreign passports.
“When a peace agreement is reached between the Palestinians and the Israelis, I believe the issue of Israel’s involvement in the region will be on the table,” Prince Faisal said.
US President Donald Trump is expected to disclose details of his Middle East peace plan to Israeli leaders on Monday, as Palestinian officials decried it as a bid “to finish off” the Palestinian cause.