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Israel says Saudi Arabia to allow it to attend Riyadh UNESCO event

UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay told Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen that the Saudis signed this week a hosting agreement for the 45th World Heritage Committee that should enable the participation of Israeli representatives.
UNESCO D-G Audrey Azoulay and Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen

Saudi Arabia has agreed to host all the signatory countries on the World Heritage Convention, including Israel, at a UNESCO conference set to take place in Riyadh in September, an Israeli diplomatic source told Al-Monitor. The issue came up at a meeting on Wednesday in Paris between UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay and Israel’s Foreign Minister Eli Cohen.

On Tuesday, Saudi Arabia signed an agreement with UNESCO over hosting the 45th session of the World Heritage Committee. The agreement includes, as always in such cases, a commitment by the hosting country to welcome all stakeholders, and in particular all delegations from the states that are parties to the World Heritage Convention, a UNESCO diplomat told Al-Monitor.

If Saudi Arabia follows up on its commitment, it will be the first time official Israeli representatives will publicly participate in an event in Riyadh.

Until last Tuesday, the Saudis gave no sign they were willing to offer representatives of the Israeli Foreign Ministry entry visas for the UNESCO event and even ignored some discreet Israeli inquiries on the issue. 

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