Saudi Arabia's decision to lift restrictions on all carriers using its airspace is not a sign of a push toward future ties with Israel, the kingdom's foreign minister said Saturday.
"This has nothing to do with diplomatic ties with Israel," Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud told a news conference, adding, "It's not in any way a precursor to any further steps."
Prince Faisal bin Farhan also said he was not aware of any discussions on a Gulf-Israeli defense alliance and that the kingdom was not involved in such talks.
On Friday, Saudi Arabia said it would open its airspace to all air carriers, paving the way for more overflights to and from Israel, in a decision welcomed by U.S. President Joe Biden who is due to visit the kingdom.
The Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) said the country's airspace was now open to all carriers that meet its requirements for overflights, in line with international conventions that say there should be no discrimination between civil aircraft.
Saudi Arabia, Islam's birthplace, does not recognize Israel and has said nothing of possible bilateral developments during Biden's visit. Israel has also shied from drawing such links.
Despite the absence of official ties, Saudi Arabia agreed in 2020 to allow Israel-United Arab Emirates (UAE) flights to cross its territory.