Sunday, July 14, 2024

Normalization talks with Israel ‘still on table’: Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Investment Khalid Al-Falih has stated negotiations toward a normalisation of ties with Israel remain on the table, though they have always been “contingent on a pathway to a peaceful resolution of the Palestinian question”.

“That was on the table – it remains on the table and obviously the setback over the last month has clarified why Saudi Arabia was so adamant that resolution of the Palestinian conflict has to be part of a broader normalisation in the Middle East,” Al-Falih said at a Bloomberg forum in Singapore.

When asked whether Saudi Arabia would use economic tools such as the oil price to achieve a ceasefire, Al-Falih laughed and added: “That is not on the table today. Saudi Arabia is trying to find peace through peaceful discussions.”

Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman told Fox News in an interview aired late September that they “get closer” every day to normalization with Tel Aviv. Israeli Premiere Benjamin Netanyahu said during his UN speech last month that the regime was at the cusp of a historic normalization deal with Saudi Arabia.

However, the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip has reportedly blocked further talks.

Washington’s efforts for adding Saudi Arabia to the list of Arab countries that have signed the Abraham Accords come at a critical time when US President Joe Biden is seeking re-election and the US government has been left embarrassed by the kingdom’s bolstering of ties with Iran and Syria, and its further gravitation toward China.

The UAE, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco signed US-brokered normalization agreements with Israel in 2020, drawing condemnations from Palestinians who slammed the deals as “a stab in the back of the Palestinian cause and the Palestinian people”.

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