Antony Blinken
Antony BlinkenREUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/Pool

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Thursday that the United States and Saudi Arabia have made "good progress" in talks on normalizing ties between the kingdom and Israel.

"I believe we can reach an agreement, which would present a historic opportunity for two nations, but also for the region as a whole," Blinken said at a joint press conference with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry in Cairo, as quoted by Reuters.

Blinken, who visited the Saudi city of Jeddah on Wednesday, discussed the normalization efforts as well as a US-Saudi mutual defense pact with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

"We had a very good discussion about the work that we've been doing for many months now on normalization, and that work is moving forward. We're continuing to make good progress," Blinken said on Thursday, but added that he could not offer a timeframe.

Israel and Saudi Arabia appeared to be on track towards normalization before Hamas’ October 7 attack against Israel and the war in Gaza which followed.

Shortly after the start of the war in Gaza, sources told Reuters that Saudi Arabia is putting the US-backed plans to normalize ties with Israel on ice.

Saudi Foreign Minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan, later said that he believes talks on normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia will resume immediately after the conclusion of the war in Gaza.

More recently, the top Saudi diplomat indicated that normalization with Israel requires both an end to the fighting in the Gaza Strip as well as the establishment of a Palestinian state.