Senior US Diplomat Says Relationship with Saudi Arabia in Very Good Shape

In one of the first comments since Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s first interview with a Western outlet since 2019, a senior US diplomat said on Thursday that Washington’s bilateral relationship with Saudi Arabia is in “very good shape.”

According to Barbara Leaf, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, who spoke on the sidelines of the UNGA in New York, the strong ties between Washington and Riyadh are also reflected in US mediation talks toward a normalization deal between Saudi Arabia and Israel.

In return for the normalization of the relations with Israel, the Kingdom wants Israel to make some concessions towards the Palestinians and also has several demands from the US, but the top US diplomat for the Middle East said believes that the process itself is going to enhance the US relationship with Saudi Arabia.

Leaf reiterated previous stances Biden administration officials issued in the last two years with regard to the concessions Israel should make to the Palestinians per Saudi demands, noting that the best way forward is a negotiated two-state solution.

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