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Blinken says US-Saudi pacts could be ‘weeks away’ from completion

May 22, 2024 at 4:47 pm

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken delivers testimony for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in Washington DC, United States on May 21, 2024 [Celal Güneş/Anadolu Agency]

US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, on Wednesday said the United States and Saudi Arabia were very close to concluding a set of agreements on nuclear energy, security and defence cooperation, the bilateral component of a wider normalisation deal with Riyadh and Israel, Reuters reports.

Speaking at a hearing in the House of Representatives, Blinken said the finalising of the agreements “could be weeks away” but cautioned that, for the wider normalisation to be able to proceed, calm in Gaza has to occur and a pathway for Palestinian statehood needs to be formulated.

Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has repeatedly rejected the creation of a Palestinian State, a major reason why Washington’s vision of a “grand bargain” for the Middle East remains elusive.

READ: Israel must focus on security not ties with Saudi: minister says