US urges Saudi Arabia to consider normalising relations with Israel

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

Pompeo said he raised the so-called Abraham Accords, a US-brokered agreement to normalise diplomatic ties with Israel, with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud at a meeting at the US State Department.

“We hope Saudi Arabia will consider normalising 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 hopes the nation will encourage Palestinian leaders or the Palestinian Authority to return to negotiations with Israel.

The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain last month signed agreements towards normalising relations with Israel in a strategic realignment of Middle Eastern countries against Iran.

“They reflect a changing dynamic in the region, in which countries rightly recognise the need for regional cooperation to counter Iranian influence and generate prosperity,” Pompeo said.

The United States is trying to persuade more Gulf countries to strike similar accords with Israel, as the UAE and Bahrain did at the September 15 ceremony in Washington.

Riyadh has signalled it is not ready to take the action itself.

Saudi Arabia drew up a 2002 initiative under which Arab nations offered to normalise ties with Israel in return for a statehood deal with the Palestinians and full Israeli withdrawal from territory captured in 1967.

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