Saudi Arabia has resumed talks with the United States about forging closer defense ties after a pause following the start of the Israel-Hamas war in early October, according to people familiar with the discussions.
Discussions took place in the town of Alula in northwestern Saudi Arabia between de-facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and U.S. senators earlier this month, said the people who asked not to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter. On the agenda was a revival of earlier negotiations about a defense pact that would also have included an historic tie-up between Saudi Arabia and Israel, they said.
MBS, as the 38-year-old leader is known, still sees opportunities for greater U.S. cooperation despite anger across the Arab world over the continuing strikes by Israel, a key U.S. ally, on Hamas, and the deaths of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, said two people with knowledge of his thinking. The U.S. is also at the heart of simmering regional tensions following a deadly attack on American forces in Jordan, alongside other airstrikes.