US says working to normalize Israeli-Saudi relations

Middle East Monitor  /  May 17, 2023

US Ambassador to Israel, Thomas Nides, said the US administration is exerting efforts to normalize relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia, Anadolu News Agency reports.

In an interview to the Israeli i24 News channel, Nides said the Biden administration is working to expand the Abraham Accords between Israel and Arab countries.

In September 2020, the US brokered what became to be known as the Abraham Accords, which paved the way for Israel to establish ties with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan. “I work every day with Bahrainis, Moroccans, Emiratis, Egyptians, and Jordanians about the improvement of relationships with Israel,” Nides said.

“We’d like to see normalization between Saudi Arabia and Israel, we think it’s hugely important, and we’re working with Israel to obtain that,” he added.

There was no comment from the Saudi authorities on the US diplomat’s remarks.

On Monday, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a pro-Israeli US-based think tank [AIPAC related], said a recent opinion poll showed that only 40 per cent of Saudis back relations with Israel. The institute added that only 20 per cent of Saudis see the Abraham Accords as having “positive results for the Middle East.”

Saudi Arabia does not have diplomatic relations with Israel and opposes normalization with Tel Aviv until ending the decades-long Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories.

Six Arab countries have diplomatic ties with Israel starting with Egypt in 1979, Jordan in 1994, the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan in 2020.