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Israeli minister makes first public visit to Saudi Arabia

Israeli Tourism Minister Haim Katz arrived in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday amid talks to strengthen bilateral ties, his ministry said.

Katz is the first Israeli minister to head an official delegation in Saudi Arabia.

Katz’s office also added that he would attend a UN World Tourism Organisation event in Riyadh.

During the two-day visit, he is scheduled to hold meetings “with his counterparts,” however, the ministry does not specify which countries will be represented in such talks.

The landmark visit coincided with the dispatch of Riyadh’s first delegation to the occupied West Bank in three decades.

Nayef al-Sudairi, the non-resident ambassador to the Palestinian territories, held talks on Tuesday with senior Palestinian officials, including President Mahmud Abbas.

The diplomatic visits come amid United States pressure on its allies Israel and Saudi Arabia to normalise relations.

However, such a move would break Riyadh’s longstanding stance against recognising Israel before it resolves the conflict with the Palestinians.

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