US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he expected Saudi Arabia to join the agreement announced last week by Israel and the United Arab Emirates to normalize diplomatic ties, Reuters reported.
“I do,” Trump replied when asked at a White House news conference if he expected Saudi Arabia to join the deal.
Earlier in the news conference, Trump called the UAE-Israel accord a good deal and said “countries that you wouldn’t even believe want to come into that deal.”
Trump also said the UAE was interested in buying F-35 jets made by Lockheed Martin.
“They have the money and they would like to order quite a few F-35s,” he added.
His comments came hours after Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said his country would not follow the United Arab Emirates until Israel had sealed a peace accord with the Palestinians.
Speaking to reporters on a visit to Berlin, the Saudi Minister said that "peace must be achieved with the Palestinians" on the basis of international agreements as a condition for any normalization of relations with Israel.
"Once that is achieved all things are possible," he said.
Until now, Saudi Arabia, the Arab world's biggest economy, has maintained a conspicuous silence over the deal.
Saudi Arabia does not have diplomatic ties with Israel, but there have been rumors in recent years of rapprochement between the two countries. Saudi officials have denied those reports.
Saudi Arabia insists that Israel accept the 2002 Saudi Peace Initiative, which stipulates that 22 Arab countries will normalize ties with Israel in return for an Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria.
Israel to date has rejected the 2002 Saudi proposal due to the fact that it calls for Israel to accept the so-called "right of return" for millions of descendants of Arabs who fled pre-state Israel, effectively bringing an end to the Jewish state.