A normalization agreement between Saudi Arabia and Israel would benefit the region, the foreign minister said in the kingdom, adding that a potential agreement “depends to a large extent on the progress of the peace process”.
Sais Arabia’s Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud added in an interview on Thursday that “the normalization of Israel’s status within the region will bring tremendous benefits to the region as a whole”.
“It would be extremely useful economically, socially and from a security perspective,” he said in an interview with CNN, adding that it would only be possible if a Palestinian state was delivered within 1967 borders.
Saudi Arabia had earlier made similar remarks, saying it would only normalize ties with Israel within a plan that would deliver a sovereign state to Palestinians.
“What we need to make happen is a peace agreement that is worthy of a Palestinian state and with a workable sovereignty that Palestinians can accept,” Prince Faisal said in December last year.
He added at the time that the normalization of ties with Israel had long been part of Saudi Arabia’s vision, saying that the kingdom intended a step in exchange for the creation of a Palestinian state inside the 1967 borders.
In September last year, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed the so-called Abraham Agreements to normalize ties with Israel. Sudan and Morocco have since followed suit.
The deals were the first since Israel’s recognition by Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.
Last year’s agreements, negotiated by former US President Donald Trump’s government, included a freeze by Israel on planned annexation of Palestinian land.
Palestinian officials condemn the normalization as a stab in the back for the Palestinian cause and the Palestinian people.
A two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict reflects the Arab peace initiative, proposed in 2002 by Saudi Arabia.
The initiative called for normalized relations between Israel and other Arab states in exchange for a complete withdrawal by Israel from countries they occupied during the 1967 war, including the occupied regions: Golan Heights, East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
The action was approved by the Arab League over the years, but never implemented, as Israel continued its occupation and expansion of the settlement in the West Bank.