Biden administration wooing Saudis over joining Abraham Accords

Sources say the Crown Prince did not outright reject the proposal to forge a normalization agreement with Israel, however, he did list prerequisites to the move.

By Donna Rachel Edmunds, World Israel News.

The Biden Administration is advancing talks with Saudi Arabia over the possibility of the Gulf state becoming the fifth signatory to the Abraham Accords.

According to Israeli news outlet Walla! the Biden Administration raised matter with Riyadh in a meeting last month between National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Three sources present at the conversation told the outlet that the Crown Prince did not outright reject the proposal to forge a normalization agreement with Israel, however, he did list prerequisites to the move.

Among these were Israeli concessions to the Palestinians and improved relations between Saudi Arabia and the United States. Washington under U.S. President Joe Biden has taken a harder line against Saudi Arabia than that of Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump, with renewed focus on human rights.

Last week, a potential normalization agreement was not mentioned publicly during comments made by Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud in Washington for a meeting with Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

However, a spokesman for the National Security Council told reporters: “I want to turn your attention to the words of Secretary of State [Antony] Blinken, who said at the ceremony marking a year since the Abraham Accords were signed, that the Biden administration will encourage other countries to follow in the footsteps of the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Morocco, and added that we want to expand the circle of peace by means of diplomacy.”

On Monday, a senior diplomatic source revealed that Israel is already in talks with Comoros, a Muslim-majority island state located off Africa’s east coast and the only Arab state that lies entirely in the southern hemisphere.

The same day, Israel’s Regional Cooperation Minister Esawi Frej told Emirati website Erem News that Qatar, Tunisia, Oman, and Malaysia could also be in line to join the Accords with normalization agreements of their own, according to Israel Hayom, although Qatari sources ruled out the prospect until the Palestinian situation is resolved.

“Every Arab country in the Middle East, even the hostile countries, we have direct and indirect relations with them. I see on the far horizon that all the countries of the Middle East will be within a union,” said Frej.