No deal with Israel without peace for Palestinians, says Saudi Arabia

Faisal bin Farhan said any effort to promote peace in the region that halts annexation 'could be viewed as positive'

epa08612663 Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud attends a joint press conference with the German Foreign Minister in Berlin, Germany, 19 August 2020.  EPA/JOHN MACDOUGALL / POOL
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Israel's unilateral policies of annexation and settlement building prevent a two-state solution and a Palestinian peace deal, Saudi Arabia's foreign minister said on Wednesday.

During a visit to Germany, Faisal bin Farhan said that the kingdom remains committed to peace on the basis of the 2002 Arab Peace Plan that stipulates a settlement to the conflict before normalisation.

“That said, any efforts that promote peace in the region, that result in holding back the threat of annexation, could be viewed as positive,” he said, speaking during a news conference alongside German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.

epa08612660 German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (R) and Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud attend a joint press conference in Berlin, Germany, 19 August 2020.  EPA/JOHN MACDOUGALL / POOL

"Peace must be achieved with the Palestinians" on the basis of international agreements as a condition for any normalisation of relations with Israel, he said. "Once that is achieved all things are possible."

The comments are the first public statements made by a Saudi official since the UAE last week agreed to move towards a normalisation of ties with Israel in exchange for Israel freezing the annexation of Palestinian land.

The UAE has said the move does not represent a departure from its support for the Palestinian cause or a two-state solution with east Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state as laid out in the Arab Peace Plan.

But officials say they hope it will allow a discussion that can reinvigorate the long-stalled peace process.