06:45 GMT +320 October 2019
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    Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir

    Saudi FM Reveals Riyadh Has 'Roadmap' for 'Normal' Ties With Israel

    © AP Photo / Khaled Elfiqi
    Middle East
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    Saudi Arabia and Israel have no official ties, despite hints by several Israeli top officials at "secret contacts" with Arab countries.

    Riyadh has a "roadmap" called the Arab peace initiative to establish "normal" ties with Tel Aviv, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told the France 24 broadcaster in an interview, while at the same time denying that the Kingdom had any relations with the Jewish state.

    According to al-Jubeir who has denied that Riyadh put pressure on President Mahmoud Abbas to either accept Washington's plan on the crisis settlement or resign, the administration of US President Donald Trump is eager to reach a deal between the Palestinians and Israelis as well.

    "Our position on Jerusalem has always been very clear. We believe in a two-state solution based on the relevant UN resolutions and the Arab peace initiative. We believe that in the end, we will have a Palestinian state in the '67 [1967] borders… with east Jerusalem as its capital. This has been our position, this remains our position," he said, adding "We believe the Trump administration is serious about bringing peace between Israelis and Arabs."

    The top official emphasized that before Donald Trump made his decision on Jerusalem, Saudi Arabia had issued a statement saying that such a decision would violate the international law as well as the UN resolution and undermine the US role as a broker of peace.

    The Arab Peace Initiative dates back to 2002 and is aimed at settling the crisis between Palestine and Israel, with the initiative stipulating the reinstatement of the pre-1967 borders and resolving the so-called Palestinian Refugee problem.

    READ MORE: Trump's Statement on Jerusalem Changes Nothing Significantly — Scholar

    In late-November, Yaacov Nagel, former adviser to the Israeli prime minister, said that Saudi Arabia was likely to agree to any kind of a deal between Israelis and Palestinians for the sake of closer ties with the Jewish state.

    Riyadh has no diplomatic relations with Tel Aviv, however, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu previously admitted that the country had "fruitful cooperation with Arab countries" that it kept in general secret.

    Furthermore, Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said that Tel Aviv had secret contacts with a number of Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, while Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot proposed to share intelligence with Riyadh in order to face Iran.

    In the most recent gesture to establish bilateral ties, Israeli Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz on December 13 invited Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to visit Tel Aviv to lead the peace talks between Israel and Palestine.

    The statement of the top Saudi official comes amid an escalation of the situation between the Arab world and Israel after Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a decision widely criticized by Muslim states and countries backing the so-called two-state solution to the issue.


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