ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 141

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Dodging question on Biden-MBS meet, Sullivan says Israel-Saudi deal would be ‘big’

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan speaks during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, December 12, 2022. (Susan Walsh/AP)
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan speaks during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, December 12, 2022. (Susan Walsh/AP)

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan is asked during a press briefing to confirm reports that US President Joe Biden is considering meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on the sidelines of the G20 conference next month in order to discuss a potential Israel-Saudi normalization deal.

Sullivan dodges the question, using it to instead reiterate why Washington is committed to securing such a normalization deal, while providing no new information regarding the effort.

“Peace between Saudi Arabia and Israel would be a big deal. It would establish a more integrated, more stable Middle East region. It would help create a circumstance in which the countries of the region, including those who have signed the Abraham Accords, Israel and Saudi could collaborate on everything from economics to technology to regional security.

“That would benefit the United States of America in a fundamental way because we have an interest in a more integrated, more stable Middle East where de-escalation as opposed to escalation is the [word] of the day.

“The United States also has an interest in a constructive effective relationship and partnership with both Israel and Saudi Arabia, as we work on a range of mutual interests. We see this both through the prism of our relationship with each country, their relationship with each other and the relationship of a peace between Israel and Saudi Arabia to the larger cause of regional stability.

“From our perspective, it is worthy to pursue this objective. There are a lot of elements to this, we need to work through all of them, and we will do that in as effective and systematic way as we can. As in when we have more to report to you, we will report it.”

“Finally on MBS, I don’t have anything to announce on the G20, but as we get closer and start firming up what exactly the schedule will look like, we’ll share more on the question of bilateral meetings,” Sullivan says.

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