Palestinian and Israeli media have confirmed that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will travel to Saudi Arabia in a visit that was scheduled in the last hour. He is set to arrive in Riyadh shortly after his previously scheduled visit to Egypt where he will meet with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
The visit has raised concerns that Abbas may become embroiled in the great Saudi political purge which has seen the shooting of one Prince, the mysterious death of another and the arrest of 11 Princes and around 30 current and former Saudi ministers and businessmen.
Abbas who leads the Palestinian party Fatah had recently welcomed a pact with rival group Hamas to form a unity government. Although Abbas is often seen as a unifying figure by non-Arab powers, his popularity has waned in Palestine as his tenure has seen many disappointments in respect of progress towards the re-establishment of a full Palestinian state.
It is thought the meeting comes at the behest of the Saudi regime, although this element of the story cannot be verified at this time.
Abbas will meet with Saudi King Salman as well as the powerful Crown Price Muhammad bin Salman who has orchestrated the purges which have included the apparently forced resignation of Saudi citizen Saad Hariri from the position of Prime Minister of Lebanon.