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Israel hopes US senior official's Saudi visit will lead to progress in Israel-Saudi normalization

Sullivan says a Saudi-Israeli normalization agreement is a U.S. national security interest

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman (Photo: Shutterstock) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Photo: Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)

U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan arrived in Saudi Arabia on Saturday in an effort by the Biden administration to improve its strained diplomatic ties with the conservative Middle Eastern kingdom.

Israel expressed hope that Sullivan's trip to Saudi Arabia will help facilitate a potential normalization agreement between Israel and the influential Arab kingdom.

Tzachi Hanegbi, head of Israel’s National Security Council and a close Netanyahu ally, articulated Jerusalem’s optimism that Washington could potentially narrow the diplomatic gaps between Saudi Arabia and Israel. 

“We are very, very hopeful that there will be a breakthrough during his visit there,” the senior Israeli official told the Israeli news outlet, Reshet 13. 

"There are those who say that there have been more than phone calls between Saudi and Israeli leaders. But what is important is that the United States lead a move adding Saudi Arabia to the Abraham Accords - normalization and peace with Israel. If that happens it will be a historic turning point," stated Hanegbi. 

Cold relations between Saudi Arabia and the U.S. have recently pushed the Saudis to increase cooperation with Russia and China, as well as to restore diplomatic relations with its regional arch-rival Iran. 

Ahead of his trip to the Middle East, Sullivan said a Saudi-Israeli normalization agreement is a U.S. national security interest. 

Saudi Arabia and Israel currently do not have official relations. However, behind the scenes, Saudi Arabia has played an instrumental role as a key partner in implementing the historic Arab-Israeli Abraham Accords in 2020.

In late 2022, Saudi Arabia agreed to open its airspace for commercial flights between Israel, the Gulf states and the Far East, which was seen as an important step towards normalization between Jerusalem and Riyadh. 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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