The Saudi-Kuwait meeting .. Israeli concern about the impact of the “first visit” on normalization

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On his first official visit outside the country, the Kuwaiti Crown Prince, Mishaal Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, traveled to Riyadh, with his Saudi counterpart, Prince Muhammad bin Salman, last Tuesday, in a meeting that dealt with several files, but Israeli newspapers expressed their fear that the meeting would affect normalization with them.

This meeting comes after Kuwait’s National Assembly (Parliament) announced last week that it had agreed in principle to “toughen the penalties for normalization with Israel, and to make amendments to toughen penalties and close loopholes, on the law prohibiting dealing or normalization.”

The Saudi Foreign Minister, Faisal bin Farhan, expected that the Al-Sabah and bin Salman meeting would be reflected in supporting the issues of the Arab and Islamic nation in order to achieve security and stability in the region, according to what it reported. Saudi Press Agency.

But the Middle East affairs analyst at the newspaper “Jerusalem PostThe Israeli, Seth Frantzman, warned of the reflection of the recent meeting on what he described as the Saudi “warmth” towards Israel, especially as it included discussing regional affairs, as well as the normalization agreements with the UAE and Bahrain.

Retired Saudi Major General Muhammad Al-Harbi, who specializes in political and strategic studies, does not believe, in an interview with Al-Hurra website, that the last meeting touched upon normalization.

Al-Harbi stressed that “the visit of the Kuwaiti Crown Prince is arranged and coordinated after the invitation of his Saudi counterpart,” explaining that “the focus of the meeting was the region’s priorities, Gulf cohesion, economy and trade relations.”

He added, “The Saudi position on the Palestinian issue is firmly established, which is the two-state solution (…), and it is not possible to engage in any talks with the Israeli side, if there is no Gulf and Arab consensus on that.”

Last March, the Israeli Broadcasting Corporation (Makan) said that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during an expected visit, while Saudi Arabia denied this.

The Saudi analyst believes that from a temporal point of view, “it is not possible to discuss issues related to Israel, either closely or from afar, especially in light of the new confrontations that stand in the way of Benjamin Netanyahu remaining in office.”

Israel is nearing the end of an era after announcing a diverse coalition, at the last minute, that could topple within Netanyahu’s days.

As for the Kuwaiti political analyst, Abdul Wahed Al-Khalfan, he did not rule out, in an interview with Al-Hurra website, that the issue of normalization had been discussed in the meeting that brought together the two crown princes of the two Gulf states, saying: “There are news that talk about that, but there is no accurate information.” .

And whether the position on normalization with Israel will affect Gulf cooperation, Al-Khalfan stressed that “Kuwait does not interfere in the affairs of other Gulf countries.”

He stressed that “differences in positions are always possible, and this is what happened in the Syrian and Libyan files before,” ruling out that an expected governmental approval of the law of thickening sanctions against Israel would affect cooperation among the GCC states.

In a historic step, the UAE agreed, last year, to normalize relations with Israel, and a few days later Bahrain announced its example.

Israel and the UAE sign a “historic” agreement

On Monday, Israel signed a tax agreement with the UAE aimed at strengthening economic ties between the two countries as they seek to further normalize relations between them, according to the Israeli Finance Minister.

Al-Khalfan added, “The adoption of a law to intensify penalties with printmakers may lead to the discontent of some Gulf countries, especially since the positions of the UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar differ from Kuwait, which adheres to its firm position on the Palestinian issue, and does not establish relations with Israel.”

Returning to the Israeli analyst, he linked what he described as the Saudi “transition” toward normalizing relations with Israel with the Vienna talks, saying that “with the arrival of the administration of US President Joe Biden to power, Riyadh seemed to be turning a little in a different direction.”

On the ninth of last April, a Saudi delegation led by the head of the intelligence service, Khaled bin Ali Al-Humaidan, met with Iranian officials in Baghdad, in an indication of a diplomatic shift.

Frantzman also believes that “Saudi Arabia is awaiting the outcome of negotiations with Iran to take its position.”

Iran and the major powers involved in the 2015 agreement have been holding talks in Vienna since early April, seeking to revive the agreement that the United States unilaterally withdrew from in 2018 during the term of its former president, Donald Trump, re-imposing harsh economic sanctions on Iran.

Here, Al-Harbi stressed that “Saudi Arabia is taking all political, military and diplomatic tracks, according to specific frameworks, foremost of which is the nuclear program.”

He pointed out that “Riyadh is demanding that it be involved in the ongoing Vienna negotiations, but the scene is still ambiguous in Vienna.”





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