ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 147

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US says road to Israel deal with Saudi Arabia ‘long and winding’

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

Barbara Leaf, US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, speaks to reporters at a media roundtable in Kuwait City on October 19, 2022. (YASSER AL-ZAYYAT / AFP)
Barbara Leaf, US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, speaks to reporters at a media roundtable in Kuwait City on October 19, 2022. (YASSER AL-ZAYYAT / AFP)

US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf says in a live interview at an Al Monitor conference in New York that the road to an Israel-Saudi Arabia normalization agreement is “long and winding” and that the US is trying to “midwife” those negotiations.

While Biden officials continue to talk about the deal as a real possibility, they’ve simultaneously sought to taper expectations, saying there are a lot of factors at play and that the parties are still a ways away from reaching a deal.

The Kan public broadcaster meanwhile reports that two defense sources involved in talks say there will be a deal with Saudi Arabia within six months.

“We’ll have a normalization agreement with Saudi Arabia in half a year,” one is quoted saying. “You can’t come to a country like Saudi Arabia and say suddenly, here have peace with Israel. You need to get the ground ready.”

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