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Mohammed Bin Salman: Crown prince Salman: Saudi Arabia and Israel getting ‘closer’ to normalization



Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) has revealed in a US television interview that his country is moving closer to normalizing relations with Israel. He also expressed concerns about Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon, stating, “If they get one, we have to get one, for security reasons and the balance of power in the Middle East. But we don’t want to see that.”
MbS made these remarks in an interview with Fox News, where he discussed a range of topics, including the potential for diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel. He emphasized the importance of resolving the Palestinian issue as part of any normalization agreement.
“For us, the Palestinian issue is very important. We need to solve that part,” the Saudi Arabi’s de facto leader said.
Regarding Iran’s nuclear ambitions, MbS expressed worry about the consequences if Iran were to acquire a nuclear bomb and stated that such a scenario would lead to a “big fight with the rest of the world.”
US officials are actively working on brokering a historic deal between Saudi Arabia and Israel, which would include discussions on US security guarantees, civilian nuclear assistance for Saudi Arabia, and potential Israeli concessions to the Palestinians. While challenges remain, the US sees potential benefits in such a mega-deal, including reducing tensions in the Arab-Israeli conflict, countering Iran, and strengthening alliances in the Gulf.
The interview coincided with a meeting between US President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during which they pledged to work toward Israeli-Saudi normalization. Both leaders also expressed concerns about Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon.
MbS defended OPEC+’s decision to cut oil output, denying that it was intended to aid Russia in its war in Ukraine. He also discussed the need for reforms in the Saudi security system to prevent incidents like the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the future.
While the potential for improved US-Saudi relations and Israeli-Saudi normalization exists, it faces challenges in the US Congress due to concerns over MbS’s role in various issues, including the Khashoggi case, Yemen’s conflict, and oil prices.
(With inputs from agencies)

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