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Friedman: ‘Talks About Saudi-Israeli Rapprochement Are Stupid’

Friedman: ‘Talks About Saudi-Israeli Rapprochement Are Stupid’

Monday, 4 December, 2017 - 15:00
Thomas Friedman. Reuters

Thomas Friedman, an American columnist for The New York Times, said that any talk about Saudi-Israeli rapprochement is stupid, pointing out that Saudi Arabia is not willing to have any kind of relationship with Israel, without returning to the Arab initiative launched by Saudi Arabia in 2002.

Speaking during a panel discussion at the annual Saban Forum 17 in Washing on Sunday, Friedman said that promoting a lie of a secret meeting or covert cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Israel is totally untrue and “bloody stupid”.

He said that he doesn’t think the Saudi government is naive to presents evidence condemning it in the region, adding that the government adheres to King Abdullah's initiative proposed in the Arab League.

After meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Friedman said that he concluded that the Prince is a powerful figure who aspires to change a lot in his country for the better.

Friedman pointed out that Saudi Arabia is carrying out reforms on all its social classes, and the strongest effect is when its government started these reforms from the top to the bottom and the results were reflected on the society following the recent reform decisions.

“He is doing that as much as leading from the top as reflecting what is coming from the bottom,” Friedman stressed.

Friedman called for the existence of a similar agreement to the "Taif Agreement," which he said was negotiated in Taif, Saudi Arabia, to end many crises in the Middle East, noting that the Taif Agreement has ended the Lebanese civil war and was a roadmap for the country during all the crises in the region.

He said that the agreement was based on this principle “No victor no vanquished, and the minority gets over-represented.”

He said that he lived in Beirut during the Lebanese civil war and witnessed the impact of Taif Agreement on life there and how it managed to heal the rift between the conflicting parties.

"I believe we need a Taif Agreement in Syria, and I think we need a Taif Agreement in Iraq," Friedman stressed.

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