Israel-Saudi normalization important for US: Blinken

June 06, 2023

WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told a powerful pro-Israel lobby group Monday that Saudi-Israeli normalization is deeply important for Washington and pledged that Iran would never be allowed to obtain nuclear weapons.


“The United States has a real national security interest in promoting normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia. We believe we can and indeed we must play an integral role in advancing it,” Blinken told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC. Speaking hours before departing for talks in Riyadh and Jeddah, Blinken said the administration of President Joe Biden was committed to the Abraham Accords, an initiative launched under previous president Donald Trump to persuade Arab countries to establish formal relations with the Jewish state. But so far Riyadh has held back, though it has opened up to Israeli commercial flights and has had many contacts with Israel.

“Israel´s further integration in the region contributes to a more stable, a more secure and more prosperous region, and a more secure Israel,” Blinken told the AIPAC audience. Meanwhile, Blinken reiterated Washington’s pledge that Iran will not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons. “The US-Israel relationship is underwritten by the United States commitment to Israel´s security. That commitment is non-negotiable; it is ironclad,” he said. “If Iran rejects the path of diplomacy, then, as President Biden has repeatedly made clear, all options are on the table to ensure that Iran does not obtain nuclear weapons,” Blinken said.