Saudi Arabia appoints first non-resident ambassador to Palestine

On Saturday, Saudi Arabia appointed its first non-resident ambassador to Palestine. Ambassador Nayef Al Sudairi’s credentials were presented to Majdi Al Khalidi, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s diplomatic adviser, according to the official Palestinian news agency Wafa.

This appointment has been heralded as “an important step” by Mr Al Sudairi, reflecting the determination of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman “to strengthen relations with the brothers of the State of Palestine and give it a formal boost in all areas.” The ceremony was conducted on Saturday, where the ambassador’s credentials were handed over.

State-run Saudi Press Agency (SPA) detailed that the dialogue during the ceremony focused on “reinforcing and advancing bilateral ties across diverse domains.” The event was also attended by the Ambassador of the State of Palestine to Jordan, Atallah Khairi.

Palestinian analyst Talal Okal regards the diplomatic appointment as a half-step towards an official Saudi representation office in the West Bank and a commitment by Saudi Arabia to the rights of Palestinians in a fully sovereign state. This marks a notable shift as Saudi Arabia’s diplomatic file for Palestine has traditionally been managed by the embassy in Amman, AFP reported.

A Palestinian Authority official told AFP that this announcement symbolises “Saudi Arabia’s reaffirmation of its recognition of the state of Palestine with Jerusalem as its capital” and expressed the intention to further develop the relationship.

While the development comes amid discussions concerning Saudi conditions for normalisation with Israel, Riyadh continues to assert its position of not establishing ties with Israel until the Palestinian conflict is resolved. In parallel, the diplomatic appointment reiterates Saudi Arabia’s commitment to bolstering ties with Palestine and upholding its rights.

Image Credit: U.S. Department of State