Trump: More countries, Saudis may join peace initiative

Trump ups the number and now says up to nine Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, are interested in peace with Israel.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

President Donald Trump told reporters Tuesday that up to nine additional nations could normalize relations with Israel in the coming weeks, including Saudi Arabia.

“We have many other countries [that are] going to be joining us, and they’re going to be joining us soon,” Trump told reporters before boarding his helicopter on the White House lawn. “We’ll have, I think, I mean I think seven, or eight, or nine. We’re going to have a lot of other countries joining us, including the big ones.”

Trump said earlier in the day that up to six countries were interested in making peace with Israel.

The president talked to reporters after the historic signing ceremony in which the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed peace treaties to establish full diplomatic relations with Israel.

Trump lavished praise on the accomplishment of getting two Arab nations to make peace with Israel, the first countries to do so since Jordan signed a peace treaty in 1994.

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“It’s not something that my critics thought was possible, and now they say, ‘wow, that was a good idea,’” Trump said. “I will say, it’s gotten rave reviews even from the New York Times … and a lot of people that don’t like Donald Trump too much. They’ve given it literally rave reviews.”

Asked about whether influential Saudi Arabia was interested in a peace treaty with Israel, Trump replied in the affirmative.

“I spoke with the king of Saudi Arabia, at the right time I do think they will come in, yes, I do. This is a very big and very historic moment,” Trump added. “We’ll have other countries coming in fairly rapidly.”

It was not clear when Trump spoke with the Saudi king.

Senior officials in the Israeli delegation estimated that there was a good chance that Saudi Arabia would sign a peace agreement with Israel before the U.S. elections in November.