Foreign Minister Yair Lapid

Israel says it hopes for ties with S.Arabia, Indonesia, but no deals imminent

FM Lapid says Jerusalem looking to 'expand the Abraham Accords to additional countries,' could normalize relations with unidentified 'smaller countries' in the coming two years

Reuters |
Published: 01.25.22, 18:06
Israel's top diplomat said on Tuesday it hopes to build on its 2020 U.S.-brokered accords with four Muslim nations and establish diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia and Indonesia, but such deals would take time.
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  • Saudi Arabia, home to Islam's holiest two sites, and Indonesia, which has the world's largest Muslim population, have conditioned any eventual normalization with Israel on the addressing of the Palestinians' quest for statehood on territory captured by Israel from Jordan and Egypt in the 1967 Six-Day War.
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    יאיר לפיד
    יאיר לפיד
    Foreign Minister Yair Lapid
    (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)
    Speaking to Army Radio, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said Israel is looking to "expand the Abraham Accords to additional countries" beyond the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco.
    "If you're asking me what the important countries that we're looking at are, Indonesia is one of them, Saudi Arabia of course, but these things take time," he said.
    Lapid added that "smaller countries" he did not identify could normalize relations with Israel in the coming two years.
    Despite the absence of official ties, Saudi Arabia agreed in 2020 to allow Israel-UAE flights to cross its territory. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's El Al Israel Airlines plane flew across Saudi airspace when he visited Abu Dhabi last month.
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    L-R: Bahrain FM Abdullatif al-Zayani, PM Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. President Donald Trump, and Emirati FM Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan at the signing of the Abraham Accords at the White House
    L-R: Bahrain FM Abdullatif al-Zayani, PM Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. President Donald Trump, and Emirati FM Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan at the signing of the Abraham Accords at the White House
    L-R: Bahrain FM Abdullatif al-Zayani, then-PM Benjamin Netanyahu, then-U.S. President Donald Trump, and UAE FM Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan at the signing of the Abraham Accords at the White House, September 15, 2022
    (Photo: AFP)
    A covert visit to Saudi Arabia in November 2020 by then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu was confirmed by Israeli officials but publicly denied by Riyadh. Both Israel and Saudi Arabia share concerns over common foe Iran.
    Both Saudi Arabia and Indonesia condemned Israel's airstrikes in Gaza during 11 days of hostilities with Palestinian terrorist groups in May 2021. More than 250 Palestinians were killed in Gaza. Rockets fired by Hamas and other Palestinian groups killed 13 people in Israel.
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