Saudi Arabia-US In Talks For Security Pact As Mohammed Bin Salman-Antony Blinken Discuss Middle East Crisis: Report

The U.S. government and Saudi Arabia are reportedly on the brink of sealing a security pact, despite ongoing Middle East conflicts and the absence of an Israel-Saudi normalization agreement.

What Happened: Seven sources privy to the matter have revealed that the proposed pact encompasses U.S. security guarantees and civilian nuclear assistance to Saudi Arabia, Reuters reported on Friday. A working draft of the pact sketches out principles and proposals to revive a U.S.-led initiative aimed at stabilizing the tumultuous region, which was disrupted by the Hamas attack on Israel and the ensuing war in Gaza.

The development comes on the heels of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman discussing the Middle East situation with Secretary of State Antony Blinken 

Despite several hurdles, including the uncertain outcome of the Gaza conflict, U.S. and Saudi negotiators have given precedence to a bilateral security agreement. This would be part of a broader package presented to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who would need to make concessions to establish historic ties with Riyadh.

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U.S. State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller stated on Thursday, “We’re very close to reaching an agreement” on the U.S.-Saudi part of the package.

The plan is anticipated to include formal U.S. guarantees to defend the kingdom, Saudi access to advanced U.S. weaponry, and sharing of emerging technologies with Riyadh, including artificial intelligence.

The terms are expected to be finalized within weeks, according to a U.S. official who wished to remain anonymous. The conditions for Netanyahu to join a broader deal are expected to include ending the war in Gaza and agreeing on a pathway to Palestinian statehood, both of which Netanyahu has resisted.

Why It Matters: In February, Saudi Arabia expressed willingness to accept a political commitment from Israel for the establishment of a Palestinian state, in a bid to secure a defense pact with the U.S. before the 2024 presidential election. The kingdom’s eagerness to bolster its security against Iran and continue its economic transformation led to a renewed interest in the defense pact with the U.S.

Blinken’s visit to Saudi Arabia was part of a broader Middle East tour to address the governance of Gaza post the Israel-Hamas conflict. He met with senior Saudi leaders and counterparts from Qatar, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and Jordan to deliberate on the future governance of Gaza.

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Posted In: NewsPoliticsGlobalGeneralAntony BlinkenMiddle EastMohammed bin SalmanPooja RajkumariSaudi ArabiaSecurity pactUS
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