Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 21 October 2020

Pompeo urges Saudi Arabia to establish ties with Israel

US secretary of state met Prince Faisal bin Farhan and announced new embassy in Riyadh

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, listens to Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan speaks during their meeting at the State Department. AP, Pool
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, listens to Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan speaks during their meeting at the State Department. AP, Pool

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on Saudi Arabia to establish ties with Israel while speaking alongside the kingdom's Foreign Minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan.

Mr Pompeo hailed the UAE-Israel agreement to normalise ties, known as the Abraham Accords, during a meeting with Prince Faisal in Washington on Wednesday as part of the inaugural US-Saudi strategic dialogue.

“The Abraham Accords, brokered by President Trump, contribute greatly to our shared goals for peace and security and reflect a changing dynamic in the region," the secretary said.

Mr Pompeo said that change was "one in which countries really recognise the need for a regional co-operation to counter Iranian influence and generate prosperity".

He said he hoped Saudi Arabia would normalise relations with Israel and thanked the kingdom for its support for the Abraham Accord.

He announced that the US planned to acquire a 10.5-hectare site for a new US embassy in Riyadh.

“This project, along with the recent opening of a new consulate in Jeddah and the ongoing construction of a new consulate in Dhahran, represents a US investment of over $1 billion,” Mr Pompeo said.

75 years of relations

Mr Pompeo and Prince Faisal highlighted the destabilising effect of Iranian support for the Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia leads the Arab Coalition fighting to restore the internationally recognised government of President Abdrabu Mansur Hadi after a Houthi coup in 2014.

“We’re going to discuss our joint efforts to promote regional stability and security, and address common threats, including the Iranian regime continuing its destabilising behaviour,” Prince Faisal said.

“The Iranian regime continues to provide financial and material support to terrorist groups, including in Yemen where the Houthis have launched more than 300 million Iranian-made ballistic missiles and drones towards the kingdom.”

Mr Pompeo said that the Houthi attacks justified the “robust programme of arms sales to Saudi Arabia, a line of effort that helps protect its citizens and sustain American jobs".

The US secretary approved an $8.1bn emergency arms sale to Saudi Arabia and the UAE last year, citing the Yemen war.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s secret meeting with the late Saudi King Abdulaziz aboard the USS Quincy.

That meeting first established ties between Washington and Riyadh.

Updated: October 15, 2020 03:49 AM

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