Agree on new economic and defense agreements. Security guarantees in the region and the possibility of supporting Saudi Arabia in the development of its own nuclear program. These are some of the promises of USA to Riyadh, in an attempt to achieve a historic agreement to normalize relations between its two main allies in the Middle EastSaudi Arabia and Israel.
But months of direct and indirect talks between the three appear to have stalled since Oct. 7, when a Hamas attack on Israel sparked a new war and bombings in the Gaza Strip. Although Riyadh has not publicly admitted that the rapprochement has been frozen, several officials in the country have communicated it to international news agencies.
“Saudi Arabia has decided to suspend the debate on possible normalization and has informed US officials,” one of the diplomatic sources told AFP. Saudi and US sources have confirmed that Washington pressured Riyadh to condemn the Hamas attack, but the Arab country abstained. This distancing represents a fiasco for the United States. United States, which is trying to normalize relations with its ally Israel, in a region where the Palestinian cause remains an important issue.
For his part, the US National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan, rejected that the talks were “on hold” and assured that the three countries are focused on the most immediate challenges. The Saudi monarchy has never recognized Israel nor did he make a gesture of joining the 2020 Abraham Accords, negotiated by the United States, in which several Arab countries such as Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates or Morocco normalized relations with Israel. However, after months of diplomatic work, the crown prince Mohamed bin Salman He noted a month ago that “every day they are closer” to an agreement with Israel, although he insisted that the Palestinian issue seemed “important” to him. “We need to solve that part. We need to make life easier for Palestinians”. The war between Israel and Hamas has forced Riyadh to rethink its most immediate foreign policy priorities. The country, home to Mecca and Medina, the holiest sites for Muslims, exerts great influence on the region and Muslims around the world.
Since the outbreak of war, Riyadh has attempted to de-escalate tensions between Israel and Hamas. This Sunday he received a visit from the US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, who described the meeting as “very productive”, in his opinion. tour by six Arab countries and Israel to reduce tensions in the region. Bin Salman also discussed the war with Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi. It was the first call between the two leaders after their countries announced the normalization of relations after seven years of lack of communication.