Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the strongest man in the Kingdom, has spoken for the first time openly about Israel-Saudi Arabia ties by telling Fox News that normalization is moving closer "every day." Bin Salman's comments came several hours after the meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Joe Biden, in which the two discussed Israel-Saudi normalization.
Bin Salman also added that the Palestinian issue is an important part of the process. This issue is expected to be Netanyahu's main difficulty with his coalition partners in promoting an agreement with Riyadh. The Saudi Crown Prince also spoke about the issue that is bothering US Congress - the planned Saudi civil nuclear program. As part of the normalization agreement, bin Salman is demanding a defense pact with the US, F-35 fighter aircraft, and a civil nuclear program.
Bin Salman told Fox News, "If Iran obtains nuclear weapons, we will have to get one." In other words he is concealing Saudi's desire to obtain nuclear weapons. The issue is very worrying on a regional level because of the concern of a nuclear arms race, which would accelerate after the Saudi nuclear program is approved, with Iran's program already running for many years.
Bin Salman is well aware that he finds himself in a situation where Netanyahu and Biden are very interested in normalization, and he is also demanding major benefits for the Palestinians. The Crown Prince understands that Biden is eager to go into the US election campaign with a significant foreign policy achievement haven't not yet accomplished anything major.
Moreover the US President is interested in lowering energy prices and without the Saudis increasing production that will not happen, and certainly not at the speed that Biden wants it to happen.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on September 21, 2023.
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