Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister has rejected the possibility of normalising ties with Israel, saying that the goal of Palestinian statehood must be addressed first.
"The best way to build on that spirit is to find a path to solving the issue of the Palestinians and finding a path to a Palestinian state," said Faisal Bin Farhan yesterday at a virtual conference of the Aspen Security Forum. "Without solving the Palestinian-Israel conflict in a sustainable long-term way, we're not going to have real sustainable security in the region."
The minister added that the best way to make progress with the Abraham Accords normalisation agreement that includes the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco would be "to find a path to solving the issue of the Palestinians and finding a path to a Palestinian state because that will deliver complete normalisation for Israel in the region."
The deals were denounced by Palestinians who claimed that the normalisation states had abandoned a unified position under which Arab countries would make peace only after a two-state solution had been achieved. Negotiations with Israel in this respect have been deadlocked for years.
At the forum yesterday, Bin Farhan also warned that Tehran "continues to be emboldened" to carry out "negative activity" in the Middle East. "We have reports coming in today that may indicate additional activity by Iran in the Gulf." He called for a holistic approach that would address Iran's regional behaviour in any nuclear deal negotiations.
"We certainly support a deal with Iran as long as that deal ensures that Iran will not now or ever gain access to nuclear weapons technology," he explained. "That's the challenge."
Riyadh and Tehran severed ties in 2016. However, they launched direct talks in April aimed at containing tensions with each other which affect the region.