Skip to Content

Sen. Graham calls on White House to normalize relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel

<i>CNN via CNN Newsource</i><br/>
CNN via CNN Newsource

By Avery Lotz, CNN

(CNN) — Sen. Lindsey Graham said Sunday he would “like to help” the White House achieve a high-stakes normalization deal between Saudi Arabia and Israel and urged officials to act, saying, “We’re running out of time.”

“If we can get a deal between Saudi Arabia and Israel, it ends the Arab-Israeli conflict, it isolates the Iranians, it creates some hope for the Palestinians, it provides security in a real way to Israel,” the South Carolina Republican told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union.”

“I don’t think anybody on the Republican side is going to undercut the deal,” added Graham, who has become an unlikely diplomatic ally to White House officials negotiating with Saudi leaders.

Graham said he has spoken twice about the issue with President Joe Biden and has worked alongside Secretary of State Antony Blinken and national security adviser Jake Sullivan to “help them normalize Saudi Arabia and Israel.”

Blinken is traveling this week to Saudi Arabia to meet with regional partners while hostage negotiation and ceasefire talks between Israel and Hamas remain stagnant. Graham, who embarked on his own trip to Saudi Arabia last month, called on administration officials to “get on with closing the treaty” for a mutual defense agreement between the United States and Saudi Arabia.

“Without the treaty, MBS (Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman) cannot recognize Israel, and part of the deal will be coming up with a solution to the Palestinian problem,” he continued, adding, “Without this deal, there is no solution to the Palestinian problem.”

In a meeting with the crown prince last month, Graham and MBS spoke with former President Donald Trump in a roughly five-minute-long, generally casual phone call, CNN previously reported. Normalization talks were not discussed, CNN’s sources said.

Asked about CNN’s reporting on the call and the shadow Trump could cast upon —or use to undermine — a potential deal, Graham said the former president “wants the killing to end” and wants to see “peace reign.”

“We’re going to have an election here in November, but can we save some lives before November?,” he asked. “I’m confident that the Abraham Accords put in place the possibility of this deal.”

Speaking directly to the White House, Graham said, “If you can land this deal, I think you’ll have a lot of Republican support in the United States Senate for a treaty between Saudi Arabia and the United States.” He also said that Trump will get his “fair share of credit” if the deal is built upon the foundation of the 2020 Abraham Accords, which led to Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates recognizing Israel’s sovereignty.

™ & © 2024 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

Article Topic Follows: CNN - US Politics

Jump to comments ↓

CNN Newsource


KTVZ NewsChannel 21 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content