U.S. approves sale of $1.3 billion in artillery to Saudi Arabia

Etienne LAURENT

U.S. approves sale of $1.3 billion in artillery to Saudi Arabia

He added that "Saudi Arabia can not assume the role of a mediator in the Palestinian-Israeli negotiating process since the mediator should take the same approach towards both the Palestinians and the Israelis, something that is condemnatory for any Arab country".

The Trump administration signed off Thursday on selling more than $1.3 billion in artillery to Saudi Arabia, giving a vote of confidence to the Saudi military as young Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman concludes a marathon tour of the United States.

On March 7, Britain rolls out its own red carpet for the crown prince but his three-day visit is controversial, drawing protests over Saudi Arabia's role at the head of a military coalition operating in war-ravaged and destitute Yemen.

During Trump's visit to Riyadh past year - the first stop on his inaugural foreign trip - the two nations announced that the USA would sell $110 billion in military equipment to Saudi Arabia.

No senior Saudi official is known to have previously accepted that Israel has a right to any land beyond the practical need to secure a lasting deal.

The analysts' remarks came after Mohammed bin Salman said in an interview with the Atlantic that "the Palestinians and the Israelis have the right to have their own land" and that a peace agreement is needed in order "to assure the stability for everyone and to have normal relations".

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Israeli newspaper Haaretz, reporting on the comments, said Saudi Arabia does not officially recognize Israel. However, the two sides have been widely reported to have cooperated secretly for years.

However King Salman reiterated Saudi Arabia's support for a Palestinian state after his son's statement.

Saudi Arabia opened its air space for the first time to a commercial flight to Israel last month, which an Israeli official hailed as historic following two years of efforts.

USA movie theater giant AMC Entertainment plans to open Saudi Arabia's first cinema in the capital Riyadh on April 18, it said in a statement.

Afterwards, they would pursue their "common goals" regarding Iran. The vast majority of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which most of the world considers illegal, would remain.

The Israeli military's chief of staff, Gadi Eizenkot, recently said the regime was ready to share intelligence with Saudi Arabia on Iran.

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