Saudi Arabia says there will be no diplomatic relations with Israel without an independent Palestinian state

CAIRO (Reuters) -Saudi Arabia has told the U.S. its position stands that there will be no diplomatic relations with Israel unless an independent Palestinian state is recognised on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem, and Israeli “aggression” on the Gaza Strip stops, the Saudi foreign ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, White House National Security spokesperson John Kirby said that the Biden administration has received positive feedback that Saudi Arabia and Israel are willing to continue to have normalization discussions.

The kingdom issued the statement to affirm its steadfast position to Washington on the Palestinian issue in the light of the comments attributed to Kirby, the ministry said.

The idea of Israel and Saudi Arabia formally cementing ties has been under discussion since the Saudis gave their quiet assent to Gulf neighbours United Arab Emirates and Bahrain establishing ties with Israel in 2020.

Saudi Arabia put U.S.-backed plans to normalise ties with Israel on ice, sources familiar with Riyadh’s thinking told Reuters in Oct, 2023, as the war between Palestinian militant group Hamas and Israeli forces escalated.

Israel began its military offensive in Gaza after militants from Hamas-ruled Gaza killed 1,200 people and took 253 hostages in southern Israel on Oct. 7.

(Reporting by Enas Alashray; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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