Saudi King Salman holds talks with Mahmoud Abbas in Riyadh. Agence France-Presse
The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud held a session of official talks with President Mahmoud Abbas of the State of Palestine.
During the session of talks, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques reiterated the Kingdom’s permanent stand by Palestine and rights of its brotherly people in establishing an independent state with Eastern Al-Quds (Jerusalem) as its capital.
For his part, the Palestinian President expressed thanks to and appreciation of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques for the Kingdom’s firm stance and support for Palestine, affirming Palestine’s condemnation of the recent sabotage attacks on the oil facilities.
During the session, they reviewed the latest developments at the Palestinian arena.
The session of talks was attended by Prince Faisal Bin Bandar Bin Abdulaziz, Governor of Riyadh Region; Prince Mansour Bin Meteb bin Abdulaziz, Minister of the State, Member of the Cabinet and Advisor to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques; Dr. Musaed bin Mohammed Al-Aiban, Minister of the State, Member of the Cabinet and Advisor of the National Security; Dr. Ibrahim Bin Abdulaziz Al-Assaf, Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Palestinian President’s accompanying delegation.
Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Bin Abdulaziz, Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence held a session of official talks with Abbas.
During the session, they reviewed latest developments at the Palestinian arena and exerted efforts towards them, to ensure the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people to establish an independent state with East Jerusalemas its capital.
Based on the official talks between King Salman and the Palestinian President and his talks with Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, and upon the desire of the Palestinian President, it was agreed to establish a joint economic committee and a Saudi - Palestinian Business Council.
Saudi Arabia and the Palestinians agreed on Thursday to establish a joint economic committee and a business council, as the Palestinian Authority faces a financing gap that could top $1.8 billion.
Abbas’s PA has been in deep financial crisis since February when Israel froze transfers of VAT and customs duties it collects on the Palestinians’ behalf.
His administration had to impose austerity measures, cutting almost half the salaries of its employees.
Abbas, who arrived in Riyadh on Wednesday, met with King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, according to the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
It added that the leaders reached “an agreement on the establishment of a joint economic committee and on a Saudi-Palestinian business council”.
The report did not elaborate further.
The announcement came days after Saudi Arabia’s football team played Palestine in the occupied West Bank for the first time on Tuesday, with the Saudi side having previously refused to enter the territory as part of its boycott of Israel.
Israel’s cuts have hit hard on the Palestinian territories, already suffering unemployment of around 26 per cent in the second quarter of 2019, the World Bank said last month in a report.
Israel collects around $190 million a month in customs duties levied on goods destined for Palestinian markets that transit through its ports, and it is supposed to transfer the money to the PA.
In February, Israel decided to deduct around $10 million a month from the revenues — the sum the PA paid inmates in Israeli jails or their families — prompting the Palestinians to refuse to take any funds at all.
US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner during a conference in Bahrain dangled the prospect of $50 billion of investment into a stagnant Palestinian economy.
But the plan so far fails to address key issues such as an independent Palestinian state, Israeli occupation and the Palestinians’ right to return to homes from which they fled or were expelled after Israel’s creation in 1948.