Money Sharma Agence France-Presse The Prime Minister and Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, during a ceremony reception in New Delhi on September 11, a day after the end of the G20 Summit.
Nicolas Revise – Agence France-Presse and Léon Bruneau – Agence France-Presse in New York
September 21, 2023
- Medium- Orient
Saudi Arabia and Israel are “moving closer” to a historic normalization of their relations, the Saudi crown prince said on Wednesday, warning at the same time that his country would acquire nuclear weapons if Iran did the same.
“We are getting closer every day,” said Mohammed bin Salman, speaking of a normalization agreement with Israel in an interview with Fox News, while US President Joe Biden met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in New York.
“For us, the Palestinian issue is very important. We have to resolve it,” he said, speaking in English in a relaxed manner and emphasizing that “negotiations were going well until now.”
He denied reports from press reporting a “suspension” of discussions with Israel.
“We hope that they will lead to a result that will make life easier for the Palestinians and that will allow Israel to play a role in the Middle East,” bin Salman added during this interview in Saudi Arabia.
This possible normalization could involve security guarantees from the United States for the oil monarchy.
Questioned on this subject, Mohammed bin Salman recalled that ties between Riyadh and Washington date back eight decades and that a possible security agreement between the two nations would “strengthen” their military and economic cooperation, without further details.
Israel has already normalized relations with five Arab countries: Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates.
But Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi warned Wednesday evening in New York that possible normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia would constitute a betrayal of the Palestinian cause.
“We believe that a relationship between countries in the region and the Zionist regime would be a stab in the back of the Palestinian people and the Palestinian resistance,” Raissi said at a press conference on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.
“War with the rest of the world”
Asked elsewhere about the prospect of Iran equipping itself with nuclear weapons, the crown prince, who de facto rules the Saudi kingdom, warned that Saudi Arabia would then be forced to do the same.
“We are concerned that a country could acquire a nuclear weapon. “It’s a bad thing,” he said.
“They don’t need to have a nuclear weapon because they can’t use it.” According to him, this would amount to starting “a war with the rest of the world.”
But, he added, “if they get one, we will have to have one too.”< /p>
Iran denies wanting to obtain nuclear weapons but its stocks of enriched uranium have exceeded the levels authorized by the 2015 nuclear agreement, concluded under Barack Obama and from which Iran withdrew. former President Donald Trump.
Joe Biden also mentioned Saudi Arabia during his meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu.
Successful rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Israel would have a profound impact in the Middle East, said the head of American diplomacy, Antony Blinken, on Wednesday in an interview with the ABC channel.
This would have a “powerful effect on the stabilization of the region, on the integration of the region, about bringing people together,” Blinken said.