Saudi Arabia Reassures Arab Allies on Mideast Peace Plan

Saudi Arabia has reassured Arab allies it will not endorse any Middle East peace plan that fails to address Jerusalem’s status or refugees’ right of return, easing their concerns that Riyadh might back a Washington-sponsored deal which aligns with Israel on key issues, Reuters informed.

King Salman gave private guarantees to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on the matter, stressing that Riyadh “won’t abandon Palestine.” Palestinian officials told Reuters in December that Crown Prince Mohammed, known as MbS, had pressed Abbas to support the U.S. plan despite concerns it offered the Palestinians limited self-government inside disconnected patches of the occupied West Bank, with no right of return for refugees displaced by the Arab-Israeli wars of 1948 and 1967.

The Palestinian ambassador to Riyadh, Basem Al-Agha, told Reuters that King Salman had expressed support for Palestinians in a recent meeting with Abbas, saying: “We will not abandon you … We accept what you accept and we reject what you reject.”

The Palestine diplomat noted that King Salman named the 2018 Arab League conference “The Jerusalem Summit” and announced $200 million in aid for Palestinians – messages that Jerusalem and refugees were back on the table.

Diplomats in the region say Washington’s current thinking does not include Arab East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state, a right of return for refugees or a freeze of Israeli settlements in lands claimed by the Palestinians, Express adds.

President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, has not provided concrete details of the US strategy more than 18 months after he was tasked with forging peace.

A White House official told reporters last week that Trump’s envoys were working on the most detailed set of proposals to date for the long-awaited peace proposal, though there is thus far no release date.

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