WASHINGTON: Twenty US senators, all of them Democrats, expressed support on Wednesday for a potential Israeli-Saudi normalisation deal, but laid out concerns about any security guarantees or nuclear assistance to Riyadh.
In a letter to President Joe Biden, the senators underscored resistance the White House could face from Congress if the administration brokers a landmark agreement opening diplomatic ties between Saudi Arabia and Israel in return for Washington meeting Riyadh’s demands.
Negotiations have been advancing, but US officials caution that much work remains.
Among the suggestions from Biden’s fellow Democrats is that any agreement include “meaningful” provisions to preserve the option of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel’s far-right government is expected to resist any big concessions to the Palestinians.
Peace between Israel and its neighbours has been a long-standing goal of US foreign policy, and “we are maintaining an open mind about any agreement that would potentially deepen the political, cultural and economic ties” between Saudi Arabia and Israel, the senators wrote. But they cited misgivings about what the Saudis want.
Saudi Arabia is determined to secure a military pact requiring the United States to defend it in return for opening ties with Israel and will not hold up a deal even if Israel does not offer major concessions to Palestinians in their bid for statehood, three regional sources familiar with the talks said.
Published in Dawn, October 5th, 2023