Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman spoke on several key issues regarding the Kingdom’s foreign policy towards countries such as Iran, Israel and the US, economic growth, peace and stability in Yemen and the broader Middle East, and the Kingdom’s rapid social and political reforms in an interview with the US broadcaster Fox News.
Here are five key takeaways from the Crown Prince’s conversation with Fox News chief political anchor Bret Baier.
Saudi Arabia is ‘closer’ to normalizing ties with Israel; Palestine remains a key issue
Saudi Arabia is getting “closer” to normalizing ties with Israel with each passing day, according to the Crown Prince (widely known as MBS), who said that discussions on the normalization are ongoing with the United States.
The Saudi leader, however, reiterated that catering to the needs of the Palestinian people is an important underlying issue to achieve the breakthrough deal.
“For us, the Palestinian issue is very important, and we have good negotiations,” the Crown Prince said.
When asked whether he sees himself working with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, MBS said, “If we have a breakthrough of reaching a deal that gives the Palestinians their needs and makes the region calm, we [Saudi Arabia] will work with whoever is there.”
MBS did not make any comments on potential concessions between Israel and Palestine as part of the normalization deal, stating that it’s part of the ongoing negotiations and that he did not want to “disrupt” things and continue the discussions with the Biden administration for a “good life for the Palestinians.”
Saudi will ‘have to’ get nuclear weapons if Iran does
When asked about Iran potentially getting a nuclear weapon, the Crown Prince said Saudi Arabia would “have to” get one in that case for “security reasons” and “balancing power in the Middle East.”
He, however, added that any such attempts would be futile because a country cannot make use of a nuclear weapon without declaring war on the entire world.
“You don’t need to get a nuclear weapon because you can’t use it… without having a war with the rest of the world,” MBS said.
“The world cannot see another Hiroshima,” he added.
Creating peace and stability in Yemen and the broader Middle East is a key Saudi goal
Establishing a good life for the Yemeni people is a key priority for Saudi Arabia, the Crown Prince said, adding that stability and peace in the broader Middle East is paramount to the Kingdom’s economic and political goals.
“Our aim from day one is to have a good life for the Yemenis,” he said.
Economic development of countries like Yemen, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, and others in the region is key to achieving growth and peace in the region and prevent uprisings from extremist groups, according to the Crown Prince.
“To have a stable region and economic growth we don’t need to see any problems in Yemen, we need to see Iraq going forward, we need to need Iran going forward and Lebanon going forward and the rest of the region,” he said.
“When the region is disturbed, ISIS come out, Al Qaeda come out, and terrorist attacks happen.”
According to the Crown Prince, Saudi Arabia is working with the GCC and other global players in the US and Europe to foster peace and stability in the region and create enticing economic opportunities for global companies to come to the Middle East.
US-Saudi relationship remains strong
The partnership between Saudi Arabia and the United States continues to remain strong as the two countries work together on various issues, including the Saudi-India-Europe railway corridor, normalization with Israel, a ceasefire in Yemen, and increasing trade and investment, according to MBS.
“The agenda between Saudi Arabia and America today is really interesting and we have really amazing relationship with President Biden,” the Crown Prince said.
“He is sharp, really focused and well prepared,” he said, referring to US President Joe Biden.
OPEC+ not taking sides in the Russia-Ukraine war
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Country (OPEC+) is not aligned to Russia or Ukraine when it comes to the oil market, MBS said, addressing questions regarding the OPEC+ conducting deals with Russia that are beneficial to Moscow.
“We just watch supply and demand, if there is a shortage, our role as OPEC+ is to fill that shortage, and if there is oversupply, our role is to measure that for the stability of the market,” the Crown Prince said. “It is purely about demand and supply.”
Saudi Arabia continues its efforts to mediate the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, he said