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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman: Saudi Arabia and Israel Close to Normalizing Relations, but Palestinian Issue Remains Important

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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Indicates Progress in Normalizing Relations with Israel

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Introduction

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman revealed on Wednesday that Saudi Arabia and Israel are moving closer to normalizing their relations. However, he emphasized that the Palestinian issue remains a critical aspect of the ongoing negotiations.

Progress in Talks

When asked about the talks aimed at establishing diplomatic relations between the two countries, the crown prince, commonly known as MBS, expressed optimism, stating, “Every day we get closer.”

The Role of the Biden Administration

The interview with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman coincides with the efforts of President Joe Biden’s administration to mediate the historic relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel. These two nations are Washington’s key allies in the Middle East.

Complex Negotiations

The normalization talks involve complex negotiations that include discussions about US security guarantees, civilian nuclear assistance sought by Riyadh, and potential concessions by Israel to the Palestinians.

Importance of the Palestinian Issue

The crown prince stressed the significance of resolving the Palestinian issue, stating, “For us, the Palestinian issue is very important. We need to solve this part.” He expressed satisfaction with the ongoing negotiations.

Concerns about Iran

Mohammed bin Salman also expressed concerns about the possibility of Iran, a mutual adversary of Saudi Arabia and Israel, acquiring a nuclear weapon. He warned against such a development, emphasizing that it would lead to a major global conflict.

Response to Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions

When asked about the consequences if Iran were to obtain a nuclear bomb, the crown prince stated that Saudi Arabia would feel compelled to acquire one as well.

Potential Benefits of a Regional Deal

While US officials maintain that a breakthrough is still distant, they recognize the potential advantages of a comprehensive regional deal. These benefits include resolving a potential flashpoint in the Arab-Israeli conflict, bolstering the defense against Iran, and countering China’s presence in the Gulf. Additionally, President Biden would achieve a foreign policy victory as he seeks re-election in 2024.

Saudi Arabia’s Stance and the Abraham Accords

In January, Saudi Arabia refrained from establishing relations with Israel without the implementation of a two-state solution. However, the kingdom’s neighbors, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, have already established full diplomatic relations with Israel through the US-brokered Abraham Accords in 2020. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has expressed his desire for Saudi Arabia to join this list.

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