King Salman, Mahmoud Abbas talk as Biden is in Israel

Saudi Arabia's monarch receives phone call from Palestinian president


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Published: Thu 14 Jul 2022, 12:11 AM

Last updated: Thu 14 Jul 2022, 12:13 AM

Saudi Arabia’s monarch, King Salman bin Abdulaziz, received a phone call from Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, as US President Joe Biden started his two-day visit to Israel.

The customary call, which King Salman received from other Muslim heads of state, was to congratulate the Saudi leadership on the Haj season in Makkah that just wrapped up and the Eid holidays, according to the state-run Saudi Press Agency.

No further details were provided and there was no indication that President Mahmoud Abbas and King Salman discussed Biden’s visit or any issues related to Palestinian statehood.

In May of last year, the two held a call in which King Salman assured Abbas of Saudi Arabia’s support for the Palestinian cause.

During his trip to the region, Biden is looking to expand budding ties between Saudi Arabia and Israel, which have been quietly growing in recent years amid shared enmity and concerns over Iran and its nuclear ambitions.

Biden arrived in Israel for the first visit to the Middle East of his presidency. It’s a whirlwind four-day trip in which he will hold talks with Israeli, Palestinian, and Saudi Arabian officials. He will spend two days in Jerusalem for talks with Israeli leaders before meeting President Abbas on Friday in the West Bank. He will then head to Saudi Arabia.

Biden was expected to land in Israel for a 48-hour visit to the area later Wednesday. He is not expected to offer any major diplomatic initiatives during the visit. He flies to Saudi Arabia on Friday.

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