update deskMiddle East

Jerusalem backing Riyadh’s bid to host 2030 World Fair

An Israeli delegate accepted Saudi Arabia's invitation to the campaign launch in Paris.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (second from left) at a meeting with French President Emanuel Macron in Paris, June 16, 2023. Source: Twitter.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (second from left) at a meeting with French President Emanuel Macron in Paris, June 16, 2023. Source: Twitter.

Israel has conveyed to Saudi Arabia that it will support the kingdom’s bid to host the world’s fair in 2030.

An unnamed Israeli delegate is set to attend a reception in Paris launching Riyadh’s campaign for Expo 2030 at the invitation of Saudi Arabia. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is expected at the event.

The 179 member states of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), which manages the world expos, will decide on the host city in November. Besides Riyadh, the other candidate cities are Busan, Korea; Rome; and Odesa.

Washington is engaged in a diplomatic push to normalize relations between Riyadh and Jerusalem, sending senior Biden administration officials to Saudi Arabia in the past couple of months, including most recently an unpublicized visit by White House Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa Brett McGurk.

However, a recent New York Times report cited senior U.S. administration officials as viewing the chances of Saudi Arabia joining the Abraham Accords as less than 50%.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated in an interview with Sky News earlier this month that a normalization agreement with the Saudis would be a “quantum leap forward” and “change history.”

During Netanyahu’s previous tenure as prime minister, Israel inked diplomatic recognition deals with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan under the mediation of the United States.

In April, Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud said that establishing diplomatic relations with Israel would “bring tremendous benefits to the region as a whole. It would be extremely helpful, both economically but also socially and from the security perspective.”

Expo 2025 will be held in Osaka, Japan.

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