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Israel-UAE deal: Saudi king presses Trump for a 'fair' Palestinian solution

King's comments come days after the kingdom said it would permit flights between the UAE and Israel to use its airspace
King Salman bin Abdulaziz chairing a virtual cabinet meeting from his office at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital in Riyadh, 22 July 2020 (AFP/SPA HO)

Saudi Arabia is eager to achieve a fair and permanent solution to the Palestinian issue, King Salman has told US President Donald Trump in a phone call, adding that he appreciated Washington's effort to support peace.

The phone call came less than month after a controversial normalisation agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, known as the Abraham Accords, and a regional tour by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to lobby other Arab countries to follow suit.  

Saudi Arabia has said it will not follow the United Arab Emirates until Israel has signed an internationally recognised peace accord with the Palestinians.

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King Salman affirmed on Sunday the "kingdom's keenness to reach a lasting and fair solution to the Palestinian cause to bring peace", the official Saudi Press Agency reported.

Last week, Saudi Arabia agreed to allow UAE flights to "all countries" to fly over the kingdom, as Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu announced the launch of regular direct flights linking the UAE with Israel.

The announcement came just days after the first direct commercial flight from Tel Aviv to Abu Dhabi passed through Saudi airspace.

Riyadh's decision marked another concrete sign of Saudi Arabia's cooperation with Israel even after it publicly refused to follow the UAE's move.

A White House spokesperson said Trump told King Salman that he welcomed the opening of Saudi airspace and urged the kingdom to negotiate with other Gulf countries to resolve the rift.

Riyadh and its allies severed ties with Qatar in 2017, accusing it of backing extremists and siding with Iran. Doha denies the charges.

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