Amid the ongoing discussion over a major agreement with the United States in a bid to normalise bilateral relations with Israel in exchange for a US defence pact and aid in developing their own civilian nuclear programme, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in an interview with Fox News has said that ongoing negotiations over Israel means the prospects of normalised relations between both countries "get closer" every day but that treatment of Palestinians remains a "very important" issue to be resolved.
US President Joe Biden also raised concerns about the far-right Israeli government's treatment of the Palestinians, urging his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu to take steps to improve conditions in the West Bank at a time of escalated violence in the occupied territory.
The interview was airing shortly after President Joe Biden met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu while both were in New York for the meeting of the UN General Assembly.
Saudi-Israel Bilateral Relations
Saudi Arabia's de facto leader, Widely known as MBS, was asked during the interview on Wednesday what it would take to normalise relations with Israel.
"For us, the Palestinian issue is very important. We need to solve that part," he said. In excerpts released ahead of the broadcast, he added that there had been "good negotiations" so far.
"We got to see where we go," he said. "We hope that will reach a place, that it will ease the life of the Palestinians, get Israel as a player in the Middle East."
The prince denied reports that the talks had been suspended, saying "every day, we get closer".
Crown Prince On Iran's Nuclear Weapon
In connection with the possibility of Iran eventually acquiring nucear weapons, Bin Salman was asked if he was worried about it.
"We are concerned about any country getting a nuclear weapon", the crown prince replied.
"That's a bad move," he said. "They don't need to get a nuclear weapon because you cannot use it. Even if Iran gets a nuclear weapon, any country uses a nuclear weapon that means they are having a war with the rest of the world."
But pressed on if Iran were to get one, would Saudi Arabia seek to do the same, the prince responded, "We will have to get one."
Saudi Arabia has made major progress in winding down its devastating war with Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, this week hosting a rebel delegation in the capital, Riyadh. It spearheaded the return of Syria to the Arab League, and in March agreed to a Chinese-brokered deal to restore diplomatic relations with Iran, its main regional rival.