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US still hopes for Saudi-Israel normalisation deal despite fallout over Gaza war, says Energy envoy

December 7, 2023 at 5:14 pm

US Senior Advisor for Energy Security Amos Hochstein arrives for a meeting with Lebanon’s caretaker Energy Minister in Beirut on June 13, 2022 [ANWAR AMRO/AFP via Getty Images]

The United States’ Energy envoy has reiterated that the country is still hopeful with regards to the normalisation talks between Israel and Saudi Arabia, despite the current fallout over Israel’s invasion of the Gaza Strip and its atrocities against the Palestinians there.

Over the past year, Tel Aviv and Riyadh had been deeply involved in talks to normalise relations, in a process backed by Washington and hailed as a potential massive shift in the region.

Following numerous delays and disagreements, however, the talks finally fell through after Israel launched a renewed campaign of bombardment on Gaza and a military invasion of the besieged land strip, in reaction to the attacks into Israel by Palestinian Resistance group, Hamas, on 7 October.

Speaking on the side-lines of an industry event in the United Arab Emirates today, US Energy envoy, Amos Hochstein, stated that “I think that not every road is a straight road and sometimes it goes in different directions first. But the goal is still the same” in terms of the US government’s goal of successfully reaching a Saudi-Israeli normalisation deal.

“And we remain as committed to that goal of regional integration, and it’s not just about Saudi Arabia and Israel, it has to be much broader than that”, Hochstein said. He added that “I don’t think we are changing directions; I don’t think this conflict [in Gaza] should do that. In fact, this conflict should be a doubling down on reminding us that if we don’t go towards regional integration, peace and security – this is the alternative”.

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