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US envoy to UN claims new Israel-Arab peace deal possible ‘in next day or two’

Kelly Craft says in interview that another Arab state is on verge of normalizing with Israel; says agreements show Iranian citizens that ‘people want peace’

United States ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft speaks during a Security Council meeting at United Nations headquarters, February 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
United States ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft speaks during a Security Council meeting at United Nations headquarters, February 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

The US ambassador to the United Nations, Kelly Craft, said on Wednesday that another Arab state could sign a peace deal with Israel within days.

“Our plan is to bring more countries, which we will have more being announced very soon,” Craft told the Al Arabiya news outlet. “Could be one in the next day or two.”

She framed the normalization effort, following Israel’s deals with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed earlier this month, as a counter to the Iranian regime.

“Obviously, we would welcome for Saudi Arabia to be next. But what’s important is that we focus on the agreement and we do not allow [Iran] to exploit the goodwill of Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, or Israel,” Craft said.

“We want to bring everyone on board in hopes that this will allow the Iranian citizens to see that people really want peace in the Middle East, and they are part of this peace,” she said. “I know others are going to be following.”

Israel inked a full peace treaty with the UAE and a Declaration of Peace with Bahrain at a White House ceremony on September 15. Israeli and US officials have said repeatedly that other Arab states will follow suit in normalizing relations.

The only Arab states Israel previously had official ties with were Egypt and Jordan.

A hoped-for agreement with Sudan failed to materialize on Wednesday, after Sudanese and US officials wrapped up talks in the UAE without any breakthroughs. Sudanese officials reportedly said that the talks were “constructive.”

In addition to Sudan, Oman and Morocco have been touted as possibly signing a deal with Israel in the near future.

Regional heavyweight Saudi Arabia has remained non-committal, reiterating its support for the Arab Peace Initiative, a Saudi-backed proposal from 2002 that promises Israel full diplomatic ties with the entire Muslim world in exchange for the establishment of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 lines.

Israel’s agreements with the UAE and Bahrain come despite a deadlock in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. However, the Israel-UAE normalization process required Israel to indefinitely suspend its plans to annex some 30 percent of the West Bank.

Trump said after the Israel-UAE-Bahrain signing ceremony that he expected “seven or eight or nine” more countries to normalize ties with Israel, including Saudi Arabia.

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