Friday, June 14, 2024

Normalizing Israel-Saudi relations possible, but not certainty: US

The normalization of relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia is possible but not a certainty, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has stated.

“It is very much possible; it is not at all a certainty,” Blinken told reporters on Friday.

The United States expects progress to be made on a number of issues pertaining to improved Israel-Saudi relations, Blinken said.

However, Blinken acknowledged that ironing out the differences between the two countries remains a challenge.

“Even as we are working on this, it remains a difficult proposition. The specifics of any agreement, in terms of what different parties are looking for, are challenging,” he added.

Blinken emphasized that there is no guarantee of reaching an agreement and added that a potential deal cannot be and will not be a substitute for a two-state solution in the Israeli- Palestinian conflict.

In August, National Security Council Strategic Communications Coordinator John Kirby confirmed that talks on normalizing relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel are ongoing but they are not at the point of reaching an agreement.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) had held regular secret meetings with Israeli officials. It added that there’s little doubt MbS and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu want to reach a deal. They’ve met at least twice in secret since November 2020, and both have serious reasons for doing so.

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