In Brief: Biden admin: Israel-Saudi normalisation is key security interest

Crown prince Mohamad bin Salman > US State Department, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

US national security advisor Jake Sullivan said last week that the Biden administration would consider diplomatic normalisation between Israel and Saudi Arabia as being in its national security interest, underlining American commitment to expanding the 2020 Abraham Accords.

Sullivan’s comments went further in support of ties between Jerusalem and Riyadh than previous interventions: “We have the interest and bandwidth to promote normalisation between Israel and Saudi Arabia, and in fact, it’s this administration that has produced the first tangible step of these two countries coming close together with the opening of the airspace over Saudi Arabia for civilian flights from Israel”.

Sullivan was addressing the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

While Saudi officials have privately expressed interest in progressing normalisation with Israel in recent years, diplomatic ties between the two countries remain distant.

Recent progress was made, however, when the White House brokered a deal to transfer control over two Red Sea islands from Egypt to Saudi Arabia, leading to Riyadh opening its airspace for civilian flights to and from Israel.

Touching on the 2020 Abraham Accords – which normalised Israel’s ties with four other Arab countries – Sullivan said the US was committed to “supporting Israel’s ultimate, final, complete integration into the Middle East region”.