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Saudi FM: Peace process is key to normalizing relations with Israel

Speaking in an interview on Fox News, Jubeir said the Saudi leadership initially believed Khashoggi had left its diplomatic mission in Istanbul, where he was last seen on October 2.

The case of journalist Jamal Khashoggi's death had become a "hysteria", Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said on Saturday, adding that Riyadh's relations with the United States remained "ironclad".

Jubeir told a security summit in Bahrain that those behind killing journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 - which sparked a global outcry and strained the kingdom's ties with the West - would be prosecuted in the kingdom and that the investigation would take time.

The minister also reiterated Saudi Arabia's position on the Israel-Palestinian conflict, saying the peace process is key to normalizing relations with Israel.

"The issue of Israel: for us in Saudi Arabia, we have no relations with Israel. We believe that the key to normalizing relations with Israel will have to be the peace process,” he said.

“This is enshrined in the Arab Peace Initiative, that was adopted at the Beirut Summit in 2002, that calls for Israel to withdraw from occupied Palestinian territory and allow establishment of a Palestinian state with the '67 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, in exchange for peace and normalisation with Israel. This remains our position today."

Jubeir’s remarks comes just a day after Israel announced Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s secret visit to the Sultanate of Oman, a country with which Israel does not have diplomatic ties.

- (Omani Royal Palace/AFP)

In August, Netanyahu said he sees a path to peace with the Palestinians through the “normalization” of relations with Arab states which, like his country, are also facing an emboldened Iran.

"Many Arab countries now see Israel not as their enemy but as their indispensable ally in pushing back Iranian aggression," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in an interview with Lithuania's LRT public broadcaster.

"This has created normalization which can lead to peace. I believe that if we have peace with the broader Arab world, it will help us get to peace with the Palestinians," he added.

Israel has peace treaties with just two Arab countries, Egypt and Jordan, while others insist on an agreement with the Palestinians as a prerequisite that would pave the way to formal relations.

Earlier this year Saudi Arabian King Salman reaffirmed "steadfast" support for the Palestinian cause after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman signaled a shift in the country's approach.

Prince Mohammed in April said in a magazine interview that Israelis, as well as Palestinians, "have the right to have their own land".

Both Israel and Saudi Arabia have opposed the Iran nuclear deal and pushed for tougher action against Iran's spreading influence in the Middle East.


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