Saudi Arabia names first non-resident ambassador for Palestine

Ambassador Nayef Al Sudairi is the country's current ambassador to Jordan

Ambassador Nayef Al Sudairi presents his credentials to Majdi Al Khalidi, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's diplomatic adviser. Photo: Twitter/@KSAMOFA
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Palestinian officials have welcomed the first Saudi Arabian non-resident ambassador, according to reports.

A copy of the credentials of Ambassador Nayef Al Sudairi was presented to Majdi Al Khalidi, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's diplomatic adviser, the official Palestinian news agency Wafa said.

The appointment represents "an important step" underscoring the desire 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", Mr Al Sudairi said in a video broadcast by the Saudi state-affiliated Al Ekhbariya channel.

Similarly, the state-run Saudi Press Agency said that during the ceremony where the ambassador's credentials were handed over, both sides engaged in dialogue "centered on reinforcing and advancing bilateral ties across diverse domains."

SPA said the event was attended by the Ambassador of the State of Palestine to Jordan, Atallah Khairi.

Palestinian analyst Talal Okal said the diplomatic appointment was a half-step toward official Saudi representation office in the West Bank.

"It is also a message Saudi Arabia was committed to the rights of the Palestinians in a fully sovereign state," he added.

Mr Al Sudairi is the current ambassador to Jordan, where Saturday’s ceremony took place.

Saudi Arabia’s diplomatic file for Palestine has traditionally been handled by the embassy in Amman, AFP reported.

A Palestinian Authority official told AFP that with this announcement "Saudi Arabia has reaffirmed its recognition of the state of Palestine with Jerusalem as its capital".

"This is one part of several steps and we will continue to develop the relationship with them," he said.

Amb Al Sudairi was born in Riyadh in 1963. He holds a master’s degree in political studies and was previously the kingdom’s ambassador to Canada.

Beginning his career at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1996, he joined Saudi Arabia’s permanent mission to the UN in New York the following year. He was also elected to be a rapporteur of the Third Committee of Human Rights for the Asian Group at the UN.

An experienced diplomat, he also served as chairman of a working group of the UN Disarmament Commission, between 2012 and 2014, and focused on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

Updated: August 14, 2023, 10:49 AM