Abbas Heads to Saudi Arabia in Unplanned Visit to Discuss Iran, Trump's Peace Push

Palestinian president's snap visit was planned 24 hours prior ■ He will depart from Sharm el-Sheikh after meeting with Egypt President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 2013.
AFP

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is traveling to Saudi Arabia on Monday in a surprise visit, where he will meet with King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.

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A source close to Abbas told Haaretz that Abbas will head to Riyadh via Sharm el-Sheik, after meeting with Egypt President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi. "The visit was not planned but after being in touch yestrday, it was decided that Abbas would make a quick visit to Saudi Arabia."

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The Palestinian ambassador in Riyadh, Bassam al-Agha, told Palestine Radio Monday morning that issues pertaining to both Palestinian and international matters will be discussed.

It is quite likely that talks will focus on Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt's recent visit to Saudi Arabia. However, economic assistance to the Palestinian Authority and rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip post-Palestinian reconciliation will also be discussed.

The Saudis are also likely to raise the issue of Iran's involvement with Palestinians, particularly in light of senior Hamas officials' recent trip to Iran and after Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah cited a united front between Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah. 

King Salman met former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television reported on Monday, without providing details.

Hariri announced his resignation on Saturday from Riyadh saying he believed there was an assassination plot against him and accusing Iran and Hezbollah of sowing strife in the Arab world.

Reuters contributed to this report.