US and Saudi Arabia close to defence and civil nuclear deal

  • Date: 22-May-2024
  • Source: Financial Times
  • Sector:Oil & Gas
  • Country:Saudi Arabia
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US and Saudi Arabia close to defence and civil nuclear deal

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A breakthrough diplomatic deal between Washington and Riyadh is “pretty much there” but a broader pact involving Israel hinges on “a credible path” towards the creation of a Palestinian state, a senior US official has said.

The US had made significant progress in talks with the kingdom over American help on defence and a civilian nuclear programme, the US official said, and the countries had a “near final set” of bilateral agreements in place.

The discussions are part of US efforts to secure a grand bargain that would include Saudi Arabia and Israel normalising their diplomatic relations — but depends on Israel’s willingness to grant concessions to the Palestinians.

The seven-month war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza must also wind down before a final three-way deal was agreed, US officials and analysts said.

“We now have a near final set of arrangements, which would be the bilateral elements of this deal, and we really believe the Saudi deal is pretty much there,” the senior official said.

“But there are elements of it, including a credible pathway for the Palestinians and also some other elements, that would still have to be