CAIRO (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s King Salman told U.S. President Donald Trump in a phone call on Sunday that the kingdom was eager to achieve a fair and permanent solution to the Palestinian issue, which he said was the main starting point of the kingdom’s proposed Arab Peace Initiative, the state news agency reported.
The leaders spoke by phone following a historic U.S. brokered accord last month under which the United Arab Emirates agreed to become the third Arab state to normalise ties with Israel after Egypt and Jordan.
King Salman told Trump he appreciated U.S. efforts to support peace and that Saudi Arabia wanted to see a fair and permanent solution to the Palestinian issue based on the Arab Peace Initiative proposed by the kingdom in 2002.
Under the proposal, Arab nations have offered Israel normalised ties in return for a statehood deal with the Palestinians and full Israeli withdrawal from territory captured in the 1967 Middle East war.
Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam and site of its holiest shrines, does not recognise Israel.
However, this month the kingdom said it would allow flights between UAE and Israel, including by Israeli airliners, to use its airspace.
White House adviser and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner has said he hopes another Arab country normalizes ties with within months.
No other Arab state has said so far it is considering following the UAE.
King Salman’s son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and Kushner discussed the need for the Palestinians and the Israelis to resume negotiations and reach a lasting peace after Kushner visited the UAE last month.
The UAE-Israel deal was met by overwhelming Palestinian opposition. (This story corrects to say a fair and permanent solution of Palestinian issue is the main starting point of the Arab Peace Initiative, not based on the Initiative)
(Reporting by Alaa Swilam, writing by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Peter Cooney and Richard Pullin)