Riyadh says no changes in Saudi-Hamas relations

Saudi Arabia says relations with Hamas have not changed after meeting with delegation

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al Jubeir said on Thursday, the Hamas delegation’s visit to the kingdom was for religious purposes rather than political, and the Saudi relation with Hamas had not changed.

Hamas which is known to appreciate the support of Saudi Arabia’s Shia regional rival Iran, has been considered a threat by Saudi Arabia for years.

"The visit of Hamas to the Saudi kingdom made by Khaled Meshaal and his colleagues [was a] visit to the holy city of Mecca ... The position of the kingdom with regards to Hamas has not changed," Jubeir said, according to Reuters.

Jubeir denounced the media’s exaggeration of the visit having political nature.

Saudi Arabia's King Salman and senior Saudi leaders met with Palestinian resistance group Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal and other top leaders from the group on Friday,  the first meeting between the two sides in years.

King Salman, Crown Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz and Saudi Defence Minister Mohamed bin Salman were present in the rare meeting between the conservative Sunni US-allied kingdom and the political leader of Hamas.

"The delegation discussed Palestinian unity and the political situation in the region. This meeting will hopefully develop relations between Hamas and Saudi Arabia," the source told Reuters.

Hamas has ruled Gaza for eight years since 2007 after fierce confrontations with its rival Palestinian party, Fatah.

Many of Hamas' senior leaders reside in Qatar. However, the small Gulf country is rumoured to be under pressure from fellow Gulf countries to limit its support for the Palestinian resistance group.

The Gaza Strip has suffered a great deal since the blockade imposed on the Palestinian lands by the state of Israel and neighbouring Egypt, which is suffering from an armed insurgency of militants loyal to ISIS, executing bloody operations, targeting the army and police in particular.

Relations between Hamas and Saudi Arabia have improved since King Salman assumed the Saudi throne in January following the death of his predecessor King Abdullah, and has led the kingdom to take on a new assertive posture in the region.


TRTWorld and agencies