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Netanyahu discusses efforts for peace with Saudis with visiting US official Sullivan

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) meets with US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan in Jerusalem on January 19, 2023. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) meets with US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan in Jerusalem on January 19, 2023. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan meets Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, in the first such meeting between a senior member of the Biden administration and the newly reinstated premier.

A statement from the Prime Minister’s Office says Netanyahu and Sullivan discussed “the next steps to deepen the Abraham Accords and widen the circle of peace, with an emphasis on a breakthrough with Saudi Arabia.”

Riyadh has long asserted that it will not normalize ties with Israel without a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and US ties with Saudi Arabia, which are crucial for such an agreement, have been battered due to the kingdom’s human rights record and its role in the energy crisis.

In comments at the outset of their meeting, both figures make fairly boilerplate remarks about the importance and strength of the Israel-US relationship and the issues on the agenda, without appearing to reference the tensions between the White House and the new hardline government.

Netanyahu welcomes Sullivan to Israel, saying: “I know how much [US President Joe Biden] trusts you in matters of national security — and you should know that we see you as a trusted partner in matters of our shared security.”

Following the remarks, the pair sit down for a working meeting in Jerusalem that includes Sullivan’s Israeli counterpart, Tzachi Hanegbi, as well as US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides, Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Herzog, Strategic Affairs Minister and former US ambassador Ron Dermer and White House Mideast coordinator Brett McGurk.

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