King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud reaffirms support for Palestinian state

King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud said the kingdom was committed to an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital ahead of a US-led conference on Middle East peace and security.

The monarch was speaking during a meeting with visiting Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas in Riyadh.

The official Saudi Press Agency reported that King Salman said his country “permanently stands by Palestine and its people’s right to an independent state with east Jerusalem as its capital”.

The pledge comes as the United States is expected to offer hints of its proposals for peace between Israel and the Palestinians at a conference in Poland, starting on February 13.

Announcing the two-day conference last month, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that foreign ministers from around the world would attend to take up the “destabilising influence” of Iran in the Middle East.

But with most major European powers sending low-level representation, the United States and Poland have toned down the agenda, saying the gathering is not focused on Iran but rather looking more broadly at the Middle East.

The Trump administration faces an difficult task in selling any deal to the Palestinian Authority, which remains livid over his landmark 2017 decision to recognise Jerusalem — claimed by both peoples — as Israel’s capital.

The Palestinian government — which has labelled the Warsaw conference an “American conspiracy” — has refused talks with the United States until it starts what it calls a more balanced policy.

This article was first published in Arabian Business

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