Pompeo encourages Saudis to recognise Israel

Cheryl Sanders
October 17, 2020

Saudi foreign minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud is now in Washington for the inaugural US-Saudi Strategic Dialogue. During joint remarks with his Saudi counterpart Wednesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he hoped Riyadh would consider striking its own deal with Israel.

Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam and site of its holiest shrines, drew up a 2002 initiative under which Arab nations offered to normalize ties with Israel in return for a statehood deal with the Palestinians and full Israeli withdrawal from territory captured in 1967.

(L-R) Bahrain Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US President Donald Trump, and UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan hold up the documents they signed at the Abraham Accords ceremony where Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates recognized Israel, at the White House in Washington, DC, September 15, 2020.

"They reflect a changing dynamic in the region, in which countries rightly recognize the need for regional cooperation to counter Iranian influence and generate prosperity", Pompeo said.

Although Arabs see the benefits to normalizing ties with Israel, 70% of them said they would end support for developing ties with the Jewish state if Netanyahu decides to go ahead with the sovereignty plans.

The State Department's Office of the Inspector General has said that USA officials did not fully assess the risks that the weapons would pose to civilians, particularly in Yemen, where Saudi Arabia leads an Arab alliance that has been conducting deadly air raids on Houthi rebels. Pompeo reaffirmed the commitment on Wednesday following his meeting with Saudi Arabia's foreign minister in Washington.

The US administration is trying to broker similar deals with other Arab states. In a controversial move that triggered an internal probe, Pompeo past year cited a crisis with Iran to bypass Congress to push ahead $8 billion in arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

Alongside work on U.S. missions in Jeddah and Dhahran, the United States is spending more than $1 billion on diplomatic construction in the kingdom, Pompeo said.

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