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Saudis attempted to block UAE-Israel-Jordan deal on energy, water — report

L-R: Energy and Water Resources Minister Karine Elharrar, UAE Climate Change Minister Mariam Almheiri and Jordan Water and Irrigation Minister Mohammed Al-Najjar sign a water agreement at a Dubai Expo event  on November 22, 2021, as US Climate Envoy John Kerry and UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed look on. (UAE Foreign Ministry/Twitter)
L-R: Energy and Water Resources Minister Karine Elharrar, UAE Climate Change Minister Mariam Almheiri and Jordan Water and Irrigation Minister Mohammed Al-Najjar sign a water agreement at a Dubai Expo event on November 22, 2021, as US Climate Envoy John Kerry and UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed look on. (UAE Foreign Ministry/Twitter)

Saudi Arabia attempted to pressure the United Arab Emirates to torpedo a major deal on energy and water for Jordan and Israel, Axios reports, citing two Israeli officials.

The agreement signed earlier this week will see the construction of a major solar power plant in the Hashemite Kingdom to generate electricity for the Jewish state while a desalination plant established in Israel will send water to Jordan.

According to Axios, the Saudis even proposed an alternative plan that it would lead, in conjunction with the UAE and Jordan, which would leave Israel out. The Emiratis rebuffed the pressure, however, though the signing of the deal was held up for several hours amid the Saudi efforts to block it, the report says.

Saudi Arabia was not aware of the UAE-brokered plan until it was publicized in the media, according to the report. Riyadh, which unlike the UAE and Jordan does not have official diplomatic relations with Israel, worried the deal would sabotage its crown prince’s efforts to lead climate efforts in the region.

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