JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Reaching a deal to normalize ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia will be “a long and cautious process”, but Israel believes it can happen, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said on Monday.
Israel has said it hopes to build on its 2020 U.S.-brokered accords with four Muslim nations and establish diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia, home to Islam’s holiest two sites, has conditioned any eventual normalization with Israel on the addressing of the Palestinians’ quest for statehood on territory captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war.
Lapid, speaking on Israel’s Army Radio, said that should an agreement emerge, it would not come in a surprise announcement like it did with previous deals, which include agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
“We will not wake up one morning to a surprise, rather it will be a long and cautious process on both sides. There are security interests for both countries,” Lapid said.
He added it would be a “slow process of small details” but that he believed a deal could be reached.
“We are working on this with the Americans, with some of our friends in the Gulf countries, in many different echelons. Egypt is of course a significant player,” Lapid said.
(Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by Tomasz Janowski)