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October 14, 2020 10:38 am

Pompeo Urges Saudi Arabia to Consider Normalizing Ties With Israel

avatar by Reuters and Algemeiner Staff

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo looks at Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud as he speaks during their meeting at the State Department, in Washington, DC, Oct. 14, 2020. Photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta / Pool via Reuters.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday urged Saudi Arabia to consider normalizing relations with Israel as he met with the Gulf country’s foreign minister, also saying that Washington supports a “robust program of arms sales” to it.

Pompeo said he raised the Abraham Accords, a US-brokered Israel-UAE-Bahrain deal signed last month, with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud at a meeting at the US State Department.

“We hope Saudi Arabia will consider normalizing its relationships as well, and we want to thank them for the assistance they’ve had in the success of the Abraham Accords so far,” Pompeo said, adding that he hoped the nation would encourage the Palestinians to return to negotiations with Israel.

Pompeo noted of the Abraham Accords, “They reflect a changing dynamic in the region, in which countries rightly recognize the need for regional cooperation to counter Iranian influence and generate prosperity.”

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The US is trying to persuade more Gulf countries to strike similar agreements with Israel.

Riyadh has quietly acquiesced to the UAE and Bahrain deals — though it has stopped short of endorsing them — and has signaled it is not ready to take action itself.

Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam and site of its holiest shrines, drew up a 2002 initiative under which Arab nations offered to normalize ties with Israel in return for a statehood deal with the Palestinians and full Israeli withdrawal from territory captured in the 1967 Six-Day War.

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