US 'preparing' Israel-Saudi 'normalisation roadmap' for Biden visit

US 'preparing' Israel-Saudi 'normalisation roadmap' for Biden visit
2 min read
23 June, 2022
The White House is working on a plan to normalise ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia before Biden raises the issue during his July visit to the Middle East, according to reports
US President Joe Biden is set to visit Israel, the occupied Palestinian West Bank and Saudi Arabia next month [AFP via Getty]

The US is formulating a "roadmap for normalisation" between Israel and Saudi Arabia ahead of President Joe Biden's visit to the Middle East next month, according to reports Wednesday.

The White House is working on the normalisation roadmap before Biden raises the issue during his July visit to Riyadh that includes stops in Israel and Saudi Arabia, Israeli news site Walla and US site Axios reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.

A deal will not be reached before the visit because "the White House's strategy is one of gradual step-by-step progress", Walla quoted one of the officials as saying.

Israel and Saudi Arabia currently do not share diplomatic relations, but reportedly have clandestine security ties over a shared enmity of regional arch-rival Iran.

Speculation has raged in recent weeks over a series of meetings between Israeli and Saudi officials for a reported US-brokered deal to transfer two strategic Red Sea islands from Egypt to Saudi Arabia.

The two islands, Tiran and Sanafir, control the entrance to the strategic Gulf of Aqaba that leads to the ports of Aqaba in Jordan and Eilat in Israel.

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Riyadh was supportive of Israel's US-brokered rapprochement with the UAE and Bahrain in 2020, but has stopped short of normalising ties with Israel.

It has not ruled out normalisation with Israel, but Riyadh says Israel's treatment of the Palestinians and occupation of the West Bank is a major roadblock.

Israel Foreign Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid said last week that Israel is looking to Biden's visit to help normalise relations with Saudi Arabia.