A senior White House official said Friday that a “basic framework” was in place for a potential deal to normalize ties between Saudi Arabia and Israel.
The Biden administration has been mediating between the two countries for months, hoping to broker what could arguably be one of the most historic agreements in recent history.
Saudi Arabia has stipulated that Israel would have to make certain concessions to the Palestinians in return for normalizing ties.
The UAE and Bahrain signed historic peace deals with Israel to normalize ties during the Trump administration. Sudan and Morocco later followed suit and signed the agreement, referred to as the Abraham Accords.
But Saudi Arabia has been crafting its own pact, which it hopes will seal a formal security pact with Washington as well as American support for its civilian nuclear program.
“All sides have hammered out, I think, a basic framework for what we might be able to drive at,” National Security Council Spokesman John Kirby told reporters during a phone call.
He said the US was still careful about talking to the public about what the framework would look like and what each side would be expected to do.
The Netanyahu government has reportedly been reluctant to commit to tearing down settlements in occupied Palestinian territories, among other demands to provide for a better life for Palestinians.
“But as in any complex arrangement, as this will inevitably be, everybody’s going to have to do something, and everybody’s going to have to compromise on some things,” Kirby said.
He added that an agreement between Saudi Arabia and Israel would be beneficial to both as well as US national security interests and “everybody else in the region.”
A peace deal would go a long way in Congress, including with many progressive Democrats who oppose strong US ties with Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Crown Prince MBS said if the Biden administration succeeded in brokering a Saudi-Israeli deal, it could be the “biggest historical deal since the end of the Cold War.”
Kirby said several common denominators were driving the process forward, including threats from Iran to the US, Saudi Arabia and Israel. “So, I would just say, watch this space; we’re continuing to work at this,” he said.
And despite some agreed principles, Kirby cautioned that there was no final deal yet. “So, you know, until you negotiate everything, you haven’t really negotiated anything final.”
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