Oman next to announce normalization of ties with Israel, sources say

Sources in Jerusalem say Saudi Arabia might establish diplomatic ties with the Jewish state before Trump leaves office; Israel apparently also holding talks with Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Maldives and many others

Itamar Eichner|
Israeli officials believe Oman will be the next country to announce its intention to normalize relations with Israel with more Muslim and African nations expected to follow.
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  • Sources in Jerusalem have said Oman is set to join its fellow Persian Gulf neighbors - the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain - in establishing diplomatic ties with the Jewish state.
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    , Oman's Sultan Qaboos, left, greets Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Muscat, Oman
    , Oman's Sultan Qaboos, left, greets Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Muscat, Oman
    Oman's late Sultan Qaboos, left, greets Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Muscat, Oman in 2018
    (Photo: AP)
    The sources added Saudi Arabia might also the normalization of diplomatic relations with Israel before outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump leaves office next month. This despite the kingdom's disapproval that the meeting between Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu three weeks ago was leaked to the media by Israeli officials.
    According to the sources, the Saudi regime played an important role in advancing the relations between Israel and Morocco, estimating Riyadh wanted to see more countries normalize relations with Jerusalem before making the move itself.
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    בנימין נתניהו, מוחמד בן סלמאן
    בנימין נתניהו, מוחמד בן סלמאן
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman
    (Photo: Reuters, AFP)
    The officials said additional talks were being held with Niger, Mali, Djibouti, Mauritania, and the Comoro Islands in Africa as well as Indonesia, Pakistan, Brunei, Bangladesh, and the Maldives in Asia in an effort to reach normalization deals.
    According to the sources, outgoing U.S. Vice President Mike Pence will arrive for a farewell visit to Jerusalem in January, just one week before President-elect Joe Biden is to be sworn in as the next president.
    On Sunday, National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien will arrive for talks on Iran with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, while also apparently discussing the possibility of more countries announcing their willingness to normalize ties with the Jewish state.
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    מלך מרוקו
    מלך מרוקו
    Moroccan King Mohammed VI
    (Photo: EPA)
    A day after Morocco announced it was set to sign a deal with Israel, the Trump administration notified the Congress it was moving ahead with a $1bn weapons sale to the north African nation.
    The deal includes four MQ-9B SeaGuardian drones made by privately-held General Atomics, and Hellfire, Paveway and JDAM precision-guided munitions made by Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and Boeing, sources said on Friday.
    Reuters contributed to this report
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