By BASHIR ADEFAKA with Agencies’ reports
Now standing up to its anticipated role as leader in both Arab and Islamic World especially among the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC), the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has ruled out diplomatic ties of any form with Israel without a recognised State of Palestine and an end to Israeli aggression in the Gaza Strip.
This was coming barely a day after United States of America (USA)’s National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said the issues of hostage release and Israel-Saudi normalisation were ‘separate track(s)’ and Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry simply replied with a bold statement saying there would be no relations, no talks absent of a Palestinian state
KSA told the US that its position is firm that there will be no diplomatic relations with Israel unless an independent Palestinian state is recognised on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem and Israeli “aggression” on Gaza stops, Saudi foreign ministry said in a statement on Wednesday February 7, 2024.
It affirmed to the US that “there will be no diplomatic relations with Israel unless an independent Palestinian state is recognized on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem”, the Saudi Press Agency reported Wednesday, citing the Kingdom’s Foreign Ministry.
It also said there would be no diplomatic relations until Israeli “aggression” on the Gaza Strip stops and all Israeli occupation forces withdraws from Gaza.
The statement read: “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that regarding the discussions between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States of America on the Arab-Israeli peace process, and in light of what has been attributed to the US National Security Spokesperson, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs affirms that the position of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has always been steadfast on the Palestinian issue and the necessity that the brotherly Palestinian people obtain their legitimate rights.
“The Kingdom has communicated its firm position to the US administration that there will be no diplomatic relations with Israel unless an independent Palestinian state is recognized on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, and that the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip stops and all Israeli occupation forces withdraw from the Gaza Strip.
“The Kingdom reiterates its call to the permanent members of the UN Security Council that have not yet recognized the Palestinian state, to expedite the recognition of the Palestinian state on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, so that the Palestinian people can obtain their legitimate rights and so that a comprehensive and just peace is achieved for all.”
On Tuesday, White House National Security spokesperson John Kirby said that the Biden administration has received positive feedback that Saudi Arabia and Israel are willing to continue to have normalisation discussions.
Saudi Arabia’s Gulf neighbours, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain established ties with Israel in 2020 under the Abraham Accords.
Israel began its military offensive in Gaza after resistant fighters from Hamas-ruled Gaza killed 1,200 people and took 253 hostages in southern Israel on October 7, 2023.