MbS failed to immediately shut down normalisation with Israel in US talks: report

MbS failed to immediately shut down normalisation with Israel in US talks: report
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman did not immediately shut down the possibility of normalisation with Israel during talks with US national security adviser, Jake Sullivan.
2 min read
21 October, 2021
Mohammed bin Salman did not outrightly reject normalisation [Getty]

A high-ranking US official discussed the possibility of Riyadh normalisaing ties with Israel in a meeting with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, according to a report.

US national security adviser Jake Sullivan allegedly raised the topic during his meeting with MbS last month in the Red Sea city of Neom, according to a report by Axios that cited US and Arab sources.

The Saudi prince did not immediately shut down the proposal, but rather listed a set of conditions that would take place before normalisation, the report added.

The steps included boosting US-Saudi relations, which have cooled since President Joe Biden took office and became more critical of Riyadh’s human rights record in comparison to his predecessor Donald Trump.

Bin Salman also urged that any normalisation deal would happen with involvement from the Palestinian Authority, according to the report.

Last Wednesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken held a public meeting with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud in Washington.

Neither mentioned that normalisation with Israel was specifically discussed but Blinken said “US-Saudi strategic cooperation on regional issues” was among the agenda, along with “other regional and broader issues.”

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However, a day prior, after a meeting with the foreign ministers of Israel and the UAE, Blinken urged that Washington remains committed to encouraging Arab states to jump on board with normalisation.

"We are committed to continue building on the efforts of the last administration to expand the circle of countries with normalised relations with Israel in the years ahead," he said.

Earlier this month, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said Israel was negotiating new normalisation agreements with countries that currently cannot be revealed

Dubbed the Abraham Accords, Israel's normalisation deals with four Arab countries were slammed by Palestinians as a betrayal of their cause that rewarded Israel while it continued to occupy the West Bank and besiege the Gaza Strip.

Opinion polls showed that the overwhelming majority of respondents in the Arab world were opposed to the deals.

The normalisation agreements were universally rejected by Palestinian factions and triggered pro-Palestine solidarity protests across the world.

Israel already signed peace deals with Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.