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US security adviser to meet Saudi’s MBS to discuss Israel ‘mega deal’

April 2, 2024 at 12:32 pm

US President Joe Biden’s National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan speaks at a White House Press Briefing at the White House in Washington, DC. on 15 September, 2023 [Celal Güneş/Anadolu Agency]

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan is to travel to Saudi Arabia to meet with Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) on Thursday as part of a “mega deal” that will include normalisation with Israel, reported Axios.

Normalisation talks were suspended following the occupation army’s genocidal war on Gaza, following the resistance operation Al-Aqsa Flood on 7 October. However, the outlet cited four US and Israeli officials who said that there are ongoing efforts by the White House to draft a US-Saudi defence treaty and agreements related to US support for a Saudi civilian nuclear programme.

It is hoped by US officials that a bilateral agreement can be reached with Riyadh which in turn could be presented to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, “whose side of the deal would include committing to a path toward a two-state solution.”

“There has been a lot of progress in the talks between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia about their draft defense treaty. They want to have their side of the deal ready and then put it on our table and say, ‘Take it or leave it,” a senior Israeli official told Axios.

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The development follows comments made last week by US President Joe Biden, who said during a fundraiser in New York with former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton that the mega deal is still doable despite the war in Gaza, which has so far claimed the lives of over 32,900 Palestinians and wounded over 75,000 others.

“I won’t go into detail now. But look, I’ve been working with the Saudis… They are prepared to fully recognise Israel,” Biden said.

“But … there has to be a post-Gaza plan here, and there has to be a train to a two-state solution. Doesn’t have to occur today, but it has a progression. I think we can do that,” he added.

Axios notes that many on both sides are not optimistic over a break-through in the deal, owing to several factors including the war in Gaza, Netanyahu’s dependence on his extremist coalition partners, and US domestic politics. Additionally, a poll from late last year revealed that 96 per cent of Saudis oppose normalisation with Israel.

“Even if a deal is reached, the Senate will have to ratify the defence treaty with Saudi Arabia and possibly the nuclear understandings,” the report said.

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