Saudi Arabia demands US backing for nuclear program before for peace with Israel – report

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan are leading “intense” negotiations.

By World Israel News Staff

Saudi Arabia has demanded that the Biden administration enter a military alliance with it that would include approval for a civilian nuclear program in return for a normalization agreement with Israel, the Jewish state’s Channel 12 news reported on Tuesday.

In ongoing and “intensive” talks, the Gulf kingdom also demanded that Israel launches a peace process for a two state solution with the Palestinians, the report said.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan are leading the negotiations with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman while Mossad chief David Barnea is representing the Israeli side.

As part of the deal, Riyadh has also demanded that Washington accelerate several major arms deals.

In March, The Wall Street Journal reported that a normalization deal between Saudi Arabia and Israel would be conditioned on a U.S. commitment to back the Gulf kingdom’s aspirations for a civilian nuclear program.

Saudi Arabia has long sought to utilize its extensive uranium reserves for a civilian nuclear program.

Riyadh also seeks to gain a commitment from Washington on weapon supplies as well as security guarantees.

Riyadh’s demands constitute “daunting obstacles to a deal, as some Washington lawmakers will likely oppose those measures,” the report said at the time.

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It cited former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro as saying that it would be “a very tough Gordian knot to cut.”

A normalization deal would mark a “diplomatic victory” for President Joe Biden, the report said, who has bristled with Riyadh on several fronts including oil prices and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.