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US making ‘serious’ efforts for Mideast peace deal: Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister Al-Jubeir

Adel Al-Jubeir
PARIS: The US administration is serious about getting a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians, but its proposed plan is still being put together, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said.
US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and eventually move the US Embassy in Israel there has angered the Palestinians, who question Washington’s role as a sponsor of Middle East peace.
“We believe the Trump administration is serious about bringing peace between Israelis and Arabs,” Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir, a former ambassador to the US, told France 24 television late on Wednesday.
“They were working on ideas and were consulting with all parties, including Saudi Arabia, and they are incorporating the views represented to them by everybody. They have said they would need a little bit of time to put it together to present it.”
Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel overturned decades of US policy and ignored international consensus that the city’s status should be decided only in a future peace agreement.
Trump’s aides say the peace plan could be released early next year and the US president has said he hoped for an agreed two-state deal between the two sides.
Al-Jubeir emphasized that Riyadh continued to support a two-state solution, which Washington had indicated to Saudi Arabia was its working proposal.
“Whether the administration’s proposals are acceptable to the parties remains to be seen because I don’t believe that the plan the US administration is working on has been finalized yet,” he said.
Al-Jubeir also denied the Kingdom had any relations with Israel despite sharing Israel’s concern about Iran. He repeated that Riyadh had a “roadmap” to establish full diplomatic relations with Israel should there be a peace agreement with the Palestinians.
Meanwhile, US Vice President Mike Pence will delay an upcoming Middle East trip by a few days in case a tie-breaking vote is needed from him for tax-cut legislation in Congress, a senior White House official said on Thursday.

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