• Saturday, Feb 29, 2020
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Saudi: Israelis cannot visit for now

  • Published at 01:57 pm January 28th, 2020
Faisal bin Farhan al-Faisal-Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan al-Faisal speaks during a meeting in Athens, Greece January 24, 2020 Reuters

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan told CNN Israelis are not welcome at the moment in Saudi Arabia

Israeli citizens are not allowed to come to Saudi Arabia, the kingdom's foreign minister announced Monday after the Jewish state said it gave its citizens the green light to visit.

Israel's interior ministry on Sunday said Israeli citizens, both Muslims and Jews, have the right to travel to Saudi Arabia for religious and business visits.

But Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan told CNN Israelis are not welcome at the moment in Saudi Arabia, home to Islam's holiest sites.

"Our policy is constant. We don't have relations with Israel and holders of Israeli passports cannot visit the kingdom for now," he said, according to CNN's Arabic website.

Like most Arab countries, Saudi Arabia does not have diplomatic relations with Israel.

Israel has peace deals with only two Arab countries - Jordan and Egypt - but its occupation of Palestinian territory has long served as a major factor preventing similar accords with the rest of the Arab world.

Israel has, however, been seeking to build ties with Gulf nations in recent months.

"We strongly encourage the reaching of a solution" to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, said Bin Farhan.

"When a peace treaty between the Palestinians and Israel is reached the question of Israel's integration in the region will be on the table (for negotiations) I believe," he added.

His comments came as US President Donald Trump said in Washington that his Israeli-Palestinian peace plan - already rejected by the Palestinians - has a "chance" and will be unveiled on Tuesday.