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Israel opposition calls for not allowing Saudi Arabia to enrich uranium in exchange for normalisation

September 25, 2023 at 11:47 am

Former Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid in Jerusalem, on December 13, 2022 [Israeli Parliament/Anadolu Agency]

The leader of the Israeli opposition, Yair Lapid, confirmed his support for reaching a normalisation agreement with Saudi Arabia, but called for not allowing Riyadh to enrich uranium.

The former prime minister told Israeli Broadcasting Corporation KAN that he supports reaching a normalisation agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia, noting that he had begun moving along this path.

He believes that Saudi Arabia should not be allowed to enrich uranium because it poses a danger to Israel and will lead to an arms race in the Middle East, as Turkiye and Egypt will then want to engage in the nuclear enrichment process.

US website Axios revealed that a group of experts and former officials in the Republican and Democratic parties asked US President Joe Biden not to allow Saudi Arabia to have a uranium enrichment programme on its territory as part of the normalisation deal with the occupation.

It noted that the group included “more than two dozen nuclear and Middle East experts” and said they “support normalisation but think the kingdom doesn’t need uranium enrichment to produce peaceful nuclear energy.”

The New York Times reported that Washington “is discussing terms of a mutual defence treaty with Saudi Arabia that would resemble military pacts with Japan and South Korea.”

The newspaper explained that this was part of “President Biden’s high-stakes diplomacy to get the kingdom to normalise relations with Israel,” adding that “under such an agreement, the United States and Saudi Arabia would generally pledge to provide military support if the other country is attacked in the region or on Saudi territory.”

The Biden administration seeks to complete the normalisation agreement between Saudi Arabia and the occupation before the next presidential elections in late 2024.

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