Regarding US efforts to normalise ties between the kingdom and Israel, the Saudi embassy in Washington has issued a statement stressing that any accord will only be feasible once a solution to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory is found.
“Israel has a lot of potential and normalisation can do wonders, not just for Israelis and Palestinians, but there’s potential for trade and cultural exchanges and exchanges with Israel on multiple fronts,” Fahad Nazer, spokesman for the embassy, said in an interview with the English-speaking and state-owned Arab News.
“But for that to happen, for the kingdom to take that step, we need that core dispute [with the Palestinians] to be resolved,” Middle East Eye reported quoting the Nazer further saying.
Given that the Saudi embassy is one of the most secretive to the media, the comments represent a rare case of the Saudi embassy speaking to the media. Israeli media sites had been providing almost daily updates on the Biden administration’s negotiations with Saudi Arabia and Israel during the previous few months. The hype was increased by a story from Axios that the White House wanted to reach an agreement in 6-7 months, before the upcoming US elections.
Nazer added that Saudi Arabia’s position on normalisation has been consistent since the Arab Peace Initiative in 2002 introduced by the late King Abdullah, which offers normalisation in exchange for peace with Palestinians that includes a two-state solution.
The embassy spokesman said the 2002 measure remains on the table and that Riyadh hopes for a return to negotiations “to try and resolve this dispute, which has brought much pain and suffering across the region”.