US Secretary of State Kerry with Saudi's Foreign Minister Saud bin Faisal in Riyadh.

Saudi denies entry to reporter covering Obama trip for Israeli paper

US 'deeply disappointed' at Riyadh's decision to deny a visa to Jerusalem Post reporter Michael Wilner.

Saudi Arabia has rejected a visa application for an American reporter wishing to cover US President Barack Obama's trip to the kingdom for the Jerusalem Post, the newspaper said Tuesday.


"We are deeply disappointed that this credible journalist was denied a visa," White House spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said in a statement. "We will continue to register our serious concerns about this unfortunate decision."


The Post said on its website that Obama's national security adviser Susan Rice and her deputy, Tony Blinken, had expressed displeasure to Saudi Arabia over the delay in processing reporter Michael Wilner's application and its potential refusal.


Michael Wilner, a member of the White House press corps, was the only journalist denied access to the Muslim country, said the White House Correspondents' Association, a group that represents journalists. Wilner is an associate member of the organization.


"It is outrageous that the Saudi government has refused to allow a White House reporter entry to the country to cover this week's visit of President Barack Obama," the group said in a statement.


"The denial is an affront not only to this journalist, but to the entire White House press corps and to the principle of freedom of the press that we hold so dear," the group said.


Saudi Arabia does not recognize Israel, but has said it is willing to change that if Jerusalem agrees to a peace plan it proposed that involved creating a Palestinian state and allowing Palestinian refugees to return to their former homes.


The Post said Wilner is a Jewish American who does not hold Israeli citizenship and has never lived in Israel. Its website cites Obama administration officials as saying the paper was discriminated against.


When reached for comment by the Post, the Saudi counselor declined to explain the reasons behind the decisions to denying Wilner's visa.


Ynetnews contributed to this report.


פרסום ראשון: 03.25.14, 18:54
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