Saudi Arabia is getting closer “every day” to a landmark deal normalizing diplomatic relations with Israel, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said.
(Bloomberg) — Saudi Arabia is getting closer “every day” to a landmark deal normalizing diplomatic relations with Israel, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said.
The de facto Saudi ruler, known as MBS, also said his country will be compelled to seek a nuclear bomb if its arch-rival Iran obtains one. “If they get one, we have to get one,” he said in excerpts released by Fox News from an interview that aired Wednesday.
Asked about the talks on establishing ties with Israel, Prince Mohammed denied reports that the kingdom has frozen the negotiations because Israel is refusing to make concessions to the Palestinians.
“There is support from the President Biden administration to get to that point” of an agreement, he told Special Report with Bret Baier. “For us, the Palestinian issue is very important. We need to solve that part,” and “good negotiations” are continuing.
The US, Saudi Arabia and Israel are engaged in complex negotiations in which Washington would offer security guarantees to Riyadh, the Saudis would normalize relations with Israel and Israel would take actions aimed at preserving the possibility of a Palestinian state.
Read More: A Saudi-Israeli Peace Deal? Who Wants What and Why: QuickTake
Saudi-Israel normalization remains “difficult,” with the process fraught over specifics, including the Palestinian issue, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said last week.
Given the right-wing nature of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s governing coalition, any concessions to Palestinian aspirations may be among the most challenging aspects of the negotiations. Netanyahu has repeatedly said that he would take no steps that would endanger Israel’s security.
Read More: Biden, Netanyahu Make Peace in New York After Nine-Month Freeze
The Israeli leader expressed confidence Wednesday during a meeting with President Joe Biden that the Jewish state could reach a deal with Saudi Arabia. It would lead to “reconciliation” with the Arab world and “advance” prospects for peace with the Palestinians, Netanyahu said in their meeting on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
–With assistance from Jennifer Jacobs, Jordan Fabian and Matthew Martin.
(Updates to show interview aired in second paragraph.)
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