US says Israel-Saudi Arabia normalization would be 'transformative' in Middle East, beyond

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Friday that normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia would be a "transformative event," but remains a difficult proposition.

"Normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia, were to be achieved, would, in my judgment, be a transformative event in the Middle East, and well beyond," Blinken said at a news conference with his German counterpart, Annalena Baerbock.

Blinken said the region has had more than four decades of turmoil.

"Moving from a region of turmoil to one of much greater stability and integration would have profound benefits for people in the region and I believe profound benefits for people around the world," he said.

He noted any agreement between the two nations would need to include a significant component for the Palestinians.

"Even as we are working on this, it remains a difficult proposition, the specifics of any agreement in terms of what the different parties are looking for, are challenging," he said.

Blinken stressed that normalization is possible but not at all a certainty. "We believe that benefit that would accrue, were we able to achieve it, would certainly be will be worth the effort," he said.

Saudi Arabia does not have diplomatic relations with Israel and opposes normalization with Tel Aviv until it ends the decades-long Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.

Six Arab countries have diplomatic ties with Israel, starting with Egypt in 1979, Jordan in 1994, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain in September 2020 and Sudan and Morocco later that year.

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