US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has urged Saudi Arabia to follow in the footsteps of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain to normalise diplomatic ties with Israel.
Meeting Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal Bin Farhan in Washington on Wednesday, Pompeo claimed it would be a strategic boost for the Jewish state amid normalisation with two other Gulf Arab kingdoms.
The Gulf states are the fourth and fifth Arab countries to recognise and establish formal diplomatic relations with Israel, after Egypt, Jordan and Mauritania. The latter later severed ties with the occupation state as a result of its 2014 war on Gaza.
Pompeo said the agreement: “Contributed greatly to our shared goals for regional peace and security.”
“They reflect a changing dynamic in the region, one in which countries rightly recognise the need for regional cooperation to counter Iranian influence and generate prosperity. We hope Saudi Arabia will consider normalising its relationships as well. We want to thank them for the assistance they’ve had in the success of the Abraham Accords so far,” added Pompeo.
However, the deal falls short of any grand Middle East peace plan to resolve decades of conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, despite US President Donald Trump’s pledge to do so with efforts led by White House advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner.
Trump remarked last month that he also expects Saudi Arabia to recognise Israel “at the right time”.
During closed-door talks with the European Union on Monday, Farhan Al-Saud affirmed that there would be no recognition of Israel from Saudi Arabia without a return to Israeli-Palestinian talks.
Saudi Arabia has stated that it abides by the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, which offers to normalise ties with Israel in return for a statehood deal with the Palestinians and full Israeli withdrawal from territories captured in 1967.