Israeli Tourism Minister Katz Makes Historic Public Visit to Saudi Arabia
In a landmark moment in the history of Middle East politics, Israel’s Tourism Minister, Haim Katz, made a significant visit to Saudi Arabia to participate in a conference of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). This marks the first public trip by an Israeli government official to Saudi Arabia, signifying a crucial step in the ongoing efforts to normalize relations between the two nations.
Participation in the UNWTO Conference
During the conference, Katz participated in various events and professional discussions. The aim was to meet counterparts from diverse countries, with a particular emphasis on ministers from Middle Eastern nations. Katz expressed his belief in tourism as a bridge between nations and a potential catalyst for economic progress. He communicated his intent to establish collaborations to promote tourism and enhance Israel’s international relations.
Israel’s Role in the UNWTO
Katz has been instrumental in bolstering Israel’s role within the UNWTO. Notably, Israel recently attained an official position in the UN organization for the first time, a significant achievement for the country. Currently, Israel, in collaboration with Spain, is leading a task force to shape the organization’s global tourism concept. This step demonstrates the growing influence of Israel within international tourism circles.
Warming Relations in the Middle East
The visit comes amid ongoing efforts by Israel and Saudi Arabia to reach a normalization agreement. Concurrently, Saudi Arabia’s first ambassador to the Palestinian Authority, Nayef al-Sudairi, arrived in Ramallah for the first time to receive his diplomatic credentials. The simultaneous diplomatic movements indicate a gradual warming of relations between these nations and may potentially pave the way for greater regional cooperation.
Implications of the Visit
This visit is significant not only for Israel and Saudi Arabia but for the entire Middle East region. It may well mark the beginning of a new era of cooperation and diplomatic relations between the two countries. The emphasis on tourism as a bridge between nations, as emphasized by Katz, could lead to increased understanding and collaboration between Middle Eastern nations.
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