Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter and a close U.S. ally, denied reports that it had agreed to allow Israel to use its airspace to raid Iran’s nuclear facilities.
Saudi Arabia rejects “the violation of its sovereignty and the use of its airspace or territory by anyone to attack any country,” the official Saudi Press Agency said late yesterday, citing an unidentified official at the Foreign Affairs Ministry. “It is more appropriate that Saudi Arabia should apply this policy to the authority of the Israeli occupation with which it has no relationship in any way.”
The Times reported yesterday that Saudi Arabia agreed to allow Israel to use its airspace to make bombing raids on Iran’s nuclear facilities. The newspaper cited unidentified people. Saudi Arabia would ensure that the bombers pass through an area in the north of the country without its missile defense systems being activated, the newspaper said.
Saudi Arabia, a Sunni Muslim state, wants a peaceful resolution to Iran’s nuclear standoff with the West and has questioned the effectiveness of tighter sanctions. Shiite Muslim Iran is the main regional rival of Saudi Arabia, the largest Arab economy.
Saudi Arabia has no political and economic ties with Israel. It championed an Arab-Israeli peace initiative, which was adopted by fellow Arab countries in 2003, offering normal tied with Israel if it returned occupied Arab land.
Saudi Arabia won’t engage Israel until it ends the occupation of Arab territories, Prince Turki bin Faisal bin Abdulaziz, the former envoy to the U.S. and a member of the Saudi royal family, said in September 2009.
“The kingdom of Saudi Arabia followed some British media’s allegations based on slander and false accusation that it will allow Israel to launch an attack on Iran through its territory,” the Saudi Press Agency reported the foreign ministry official as saying.