HomeNewsUS exploring defence pact with Saudi Arabia similar to Japan, South Korea

US exploring defence pact with Saudi Arabia similar to Japan, South Korea

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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman fist bumps U.S. President Joe Biden upon his arrival at Al Salman Palace, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, July 15, 2022. — Reuters/File
  • Saudi crown prince urged development of civilian nuclear project.
  • Not clear if US would send additional troops to Saudi Arabia.
  • Riyadh pressed grants for Palestinians to ease relations with Israel.

The Biden Administration officials have revealed that the US and Saudia Arabia are exploring the specifics of a mutual defence treaty as part of an effort by Washington to persuade Riyadh and Tel Aviv to normalise relations, The New York Times reported on Tuesday.

The terms of the pact ensure that in the event that either country is attacked in the area or on Saudi soil, the US and Saudi Arabia would promise to support each other militarily under the terms of the pact.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE are seeking a mutual defence agreement with the US, similar to those with Japan or South Korea, following recent attacks by Yemen’s Houthi rebels.

Officials revealed that Saudi Arabia is focusing on a potential defence accord as a key part of its ongoing discussions with the Biden administration about Israel.

Additionally, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has urged the country to develop a civilian nuclear project, requesting US assistance.

The UN General Assembly, which began in New York City, brought together leaders from over 140 countries for a week of meetings and speeches including President Biden’s discussion of the benefits of normalising relations with Israel during his address, Middle East Eye reported.

He is scheduled to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later this week.

The US is currently hosting troops in Japan and South Korea, with similar defence treaties being discussed with Saudi Arabia.

However, it is unclear if the Biden administration would send additional troops to Saudi Arabia, a move that would reverse the US policy of withdrawing Patriot missile batteries from the kingdom in 2021.

The US currently has under 2,700 troops in Saudi Arabia.

The approval from two-thirds of the US Senate would be required for a defence pact which is a fairly difficult task.

Meanwhile, Riyadh also emphasised that any normalisation with Israel would require concessions for Palestinians and assistance with a nuclear program, in addition to a mutual defence agreement.

Saudi Arabia has offered to normalise ties with Israel since 2002 under the Arab Peace Plan, which calls for an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Saudi Arabia hasn’t openly changed its stance on the matter, but according to analysts and others familiar with the Biden administration’s thinking, Riyadh would be content with considerably less, Middle East Eye reported.

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