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US-Saudi defense deal with civil nuclear component nears completion

22/5/2024 11:32
        The U.S. and Saudi Arabia have reached a "near final set of arrangements" for a defense pact that includes a civil nuclear component but obstacles remain for a broader regional deal that would normalize relations between Israel and Riyadh.
        
        A senior U.S. official said the bilateral deal was "more or less complete," but cautioned that certain elements, including a credible pathway to Palestinian statehood and steps on stabilizing war-torn Gaza, still needed to be completed.
        
        The Biden administration official said, "It is not done. Nobody here is going to say this is, you know, just right around the corner."
        
        The official briefed reporters following a Middle East visit by White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan, who held talks with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
        
        The U.S.-Saudi agreement is intended as part of a Middle East "grand bargain" to reshape the volatile region that President Joe Biden's administration is trying to revive after it was derailed by Hamas' Oct. 7 cross-border attack on Israel and the outbreak of war in Gaza.
        



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