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Saudi Arabia to allow Israeli airlines to use airspace for flights to UAE

Riyadh agreed to open skies to Israeli commercial airliners after White House official Jared Kushner negotiated last-minute deal
Kushner will attempt to end the three-year blockade imposed on Qatar during his trip to the Middle East (AFP)

Saudi Arabia will allow Israeli commercial airliners to use its airspace for flights to the United Arab Emirates after talks between Saudi officials and senior White House advisor Jared Kushner, according to reports. 

Kushner and Middle East envoys Avi Berkowitz and Brian Hook raised the issue in Saudi Arabia during talks in the region. 

“We were able to reconcile the issue,” an official from the administration of President Donald Trump told Reuters on Monday.

The agreement was made hours before Israel's first commercial flight to the UAE planned for Tuesday. 

Israir was on the verge of cancelling its inaugural flight to the UAE if an agreement was not made with Saudi Arabia. 

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This latest decision to allow Israeli commercial airliners to travel via Saudi Arabia to the Emirates comes after the UAE, Bahrain and Sudan agreed to normalise relations with Israel.

The UAE is also set to benefit from the normalisation deal as the White House attempts to push through arms sales to the Gulf country amid opposition from the US Congress. 

Kushner and his team will later meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Qatar's Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. 

A key aim of Kushner's trip to the Middle East will be to end the three-year blockade of Qatar imposed by Saudi Arabia and its allies.

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