Jake Sullivan to Discuss Potential Mega-Deal Including Saudi Normalization with Israel During Visit to Saudi Arabia

by | Apr 2, 2024

White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan is set to travel to Saudi Arabia to engage in talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Scheduled for Thursday, the meeting aims to explore the prospects of a potential mega-deal, which includes discussions on Saudi normalization with Israel.

The White House remains committed to advancing discussions on a draft U.S.-Saudi defense treaty and related understandings concerning U.S. support for a Saudi civilian nuclear program, as indicated by sources from both the U.S. and Israel.

U.S. officials are actively working towards a bilateral agreement with Saudi Arabia, with the potential of subsequently presenting it to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Under the proposed deal, Netanyahu's acceptance would involve a commitment to a pathway leading to a two-state solution.

This presents Netanyahu with a decision to be made: agreeing to the deal could pave the way for a historic peace accord with Saudi Arabia, while rejecting it could potentially isolate him and jeopardize any remaining support from the United States.

Ahead of Sullivan's visit to Saudi Arabia, three officials are scheduled to travel to the country for meetings on Wednesday. White House Middle East czar Brett McGurk, senior energy adviser Amos Hochstein, and State Department counselor Derek Chollet will engage in discussions aimed at laying the groundwork for Sullivan's mission.

Saudi Arabia has emphasized specific conditions for advancing normalization with Israel, stipulating that the conflict in Gaza must cease and that the Israeli government must demonstrate a firm commitment to a two-state solution.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears to be hesitant in meeting these conditions. He has not shown signs of moving towards ending the conflict in Gaza, and opposes the concept of a two-state solution. Additionally, Netanyahu rejects the notion of allowing the Palestinian Authority any governance role in Gaza immediately following the cessation of hostilities.

Source: Axios



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