Biden to bring tidings of progress on Saudi-Israel ties, senior diplomat tips

Biden

Deputy Foreign Minister Idan Roll tells reporters that normalization will not happen overnight, however there will be some announcement on movement while US president is in Jeddah
US President Joe Biden’s trip to Israel and Saudi Arabia will come with an announcement regarding efforts to bring the 2 countries’ ties out of the shadows, a senior Israeli diplomat hinted Monday, though he moistened wish for a major advancement or surprise normalization a la the Abraham Accords.

” Any possible actions with Saudi [Arabia] will be most likely different than what we’ve seen with the Accords,” Deputy Foreign Minister Idan Roll informed reporters in Jerusalem ahead of Biden’s see to Israel, slated to start Wednesday. “I don’t believe we’re going to awaken and discover we have actually a signed agreement with Saudi.”

Stressing that normalization with Riyadh would take place in stages, Roll stated that Israel hopes Biden’s journey will feature some movement on Saudi-Israel ties. ” We will need to await President Biden’s visit to Saudi,” he said, suggesting a statement of some type would come at some point, though he might not state when and would not state what the nature of the possible statement would be. Biden is expected in Israel on Wednesday for a packed two-day see that will likewise include a trip to the Palestinian Authority, followed by a visit to Saudi Arabia on Friday for a Saturday meeting with local Mideast leaders as part of the GCC +3 top.

Roll said he did not understand of any Israeli authorities slated to sign up with Biden’s flight to Saudi Arabia. Biden will be the first American president to fly from Israel directly to Saudi Arabia. In a Washington Post op-ed Saturday, Biden explained the flight as a “little sign” of the warming ties between Israel and the Arab world and “steps toward normalization.” The US is working to complete the transfer of a set of Red Sea islands from Egyptian to Saudi control as part of an agreement that would see Riyadh take a series of actions to stabilize ties with Israel, an Arab diplomat told The Times of Israel last week. It’s wishing to fortify the transfer ahead of the trip.

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Israel turned over control of the Tiran and Sanafir islands to Egypt as part of their 1979 peace agreement, but the sides accepted demilitarize the islands and to enable the presence of a multinational observer force. Israel is now seeking comparable assurances from Saudi Arabia in order to validate the deal, but Riyadh has been reluctant to put the dedication in writing, the Middle East diplomat said. The normalization procedures would include Saudi Arabia opening its airspace to Israeli flights to the Far East in addition to rolling out direct flights between Israel and Saudi Arabia for Muslim pilgrims, the Middle East diplomat stated, confirming reporting in the Axios news site.

” From Jerusalem, the [US] president’s plane will fly to Saudi Arabia, and he will bring with it a message of peace and hope from us,” said Prime Minister Yair Lapid on Sunday. “Israel reaches out to all the countries in the region and contacts them to develop ties with us, to establish relations with us and to change history for the sake of our kids.” A recent Israeli report stated that Israel intends to ask Biden to authorize the delivery of an Israeli laser-based air defense system to Arab nations lined up versus Iran, consisting of Saudi Arabia.

Though the concern makes sure to come up in all of Biden’s meetings with senior Israeli authorities, Roll stated that he does not anticipate the see to revolve around the topic of Iran nuclear talks. ” It’s about maintaining the tactical relationship,” Roll said. “We don’t have a specific ask and we’re not trying to get something out of this check out.” Roll stated that regardless of recent talks Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Lapid have accepted Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Israel will not offer any new gestures to the Palestinians around Biden’s visit.

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Biden is expected to visit the Augusta Victoria Hospital on East Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives, according to an Israeli source knowledgeable about the matter. It will be the very first visit by a sitting United States president to the largely Palestinian area of the capital beyond the Old City. First Lady Jill Biden checked out the very same healthcare facility in 2010 and announced the contribution of brand-new devices for the oncology ward. The stop is seen as a nod to Palestinians, who view the area as the capital of their future state. Maybe for that reason, Israeli authorities have been looking for to sign up with Biden on the see, the Israeli source said.

The Biden administration will utilize the opportunity to announce a considerable financing initiative for the East Jerusalem Hospital Network, a senior Israeli official stated, adding that the effort has been pushed by United States Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides. Roll stated he was not concerned about the visit improving Palestinian claims to East Jerusalem. “We have a clear concept about this go to and the dedication of the Biden administration to Israel’s authority and to Israel’s sovereignty,” he said.