Saudi Arabia, Palestine to Set Up Joint Business Council

Saudi Arabia and the Palestinians agreed on Thursday to establish a joint economic committee and a business council, the SPA reports.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas visited Riyadh on Wednesday and met with King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The official Saudi Press Agency said that the leaders reached “an agreement on the establishment of a joint economic committee and on a Saudi-Palestinian business council.”

Crown Prince Mohammed and President Abbas discussed “the Palestinian issue and efforts made to guarantee the rights of the Palestinian people to establish an independent state with east Jerusalem as its capital,” Arab News reports. Crown Prince Mohammed’s meeting with the Palestinian president came a day after King Salman met with him on Wednesday in the capital Riyadh.

The Palestinians have been in deep financial crisis since February when Israel froze transfers of VAT and customs duties it collects on the Palestinians’ behalf, the VOA/AFP reports, adding that the Palestinian Authority faces a financing gap that could top $1.8 billion.

The meeting comes just days after Saudi Arabia’s national team visited Palestine and played a match against the Palestinian team for the first time in decades.