Prince Faisal bin Farhan
Prince Faisal bin FarhanReuters

Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud reiterated on Sunday that a Palestinian state with eastern Jerusalem as its capital is a prerequisite for Saudi Arabia normalizing ties with Israel.

The Saudi minister made the comments in an interview with the Al-Hadath news channel and was quoted by i24NEWS.

The top Saudi diplomat has made similar comments in the past. In April, he said that normalization with Israel would bring "tremendous benefit" to the region, but such an accord with the kingdom would depend on progress in the Israeli-Palestinian Arab peace process.

"I think normalizing Israel's status within the region would bring tremendous benefit to the region as a whole," said Prince Faisal, adding that any deal with Saudi Arabia was "very much dependent on progress with the peace process".

While Israel and Saudi Arabia do not have formal relations, Saudi Arabia has permitted Israeli flights to use its airspace en route to Dubai.

Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman reportedly held a secret meeting last November in which they discussed the possibility of normalizing relations between their two countries.

Subsequent reports said the Crown Prince pulled back from a normalization deal with Israel largely because of the US election result. Riyadh denied the meeting had even taken place.

Last week it was reported that the Biden administration is holding meetings with Saudi Arabia on the issue of normalization with Israel.

According to the report, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan raised the issue in his meeting with the Saudi Crown Prince during his visit to the kingdom.

Sources cited in the report said that bin Salman did not reject outright the possibility of normalizing ties with Israel. The Saudis emphasized, however, that such a process would take time, and gave Sullivan a list of steps which will need to be taken before it can happen. Several of those steps include improving the relationship between Saudi Arabia and the US.