Saudi-Israeli relations to expand only after peace plan, FM says

Senior Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, a participant at the Munich Security Conference, emphasized that a peace agreement must be in accordance with Palestinian conditions.

Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud at 2020 Munich Security Conference. (photo credit: MAARIV)
Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud at 2020 Munich Security Conference.
(photo credit: MAARIV)
"Upgrading relations with Israel will occur only when a peace agreement is signed and is in accordance with Palestinian conditions,"  Saudi Arabia's new foreign minister, Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud noted on Saturday at the Munich Security Conference in response to a question from Maariv about Israel-Saudi relations. The Jerusalem Post's sister publication also asked whether improvements to the relationship would include a non-aggression pact as well as open and formal relations with the Arab Gulf states.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif complained at the conference that any violent action in the Middle East is now being blamed on Iran. He provided the example of how US President Donald Trump's peace plan has lead to an increase in tensions and alleged violence against Israel and in the region, which he notes will be likely blamed on Tehran. 
Maariv also asked Zarif if Iran itself would engage in violent actions against Israel, to which he replies, "not in this case, but of course we will be blamed."
Foreign Minister Israel Katz was about to attend the Munich conference and reportedly had planned to meet with Arab ministers, but his trip was canceled.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also spoke to Maariv, referring first to Trump's "Deal of the Century" as a test for seeing whether it will return the two sides to negotiations, but Trudeau added that "in the meantime, that doesn't seem so."
After being asked whether Canada would be willing to join a multilateral initiative on the issue, Trudeau said that he would support any initiative that would promote a two-state solution and resume talks between the two sides.
On the Iranian issue, Trudeau said: "We will continue to work with Iran so that the Ukrainian passenger plane downing is fully and independently investigated, and we can provide the families with answers."
The shadow of the coronavirus also hovered over the conference. Hand sanitizer was made available to the participants at the entrance to each hall, but masks were not distributed.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi promised that "the epidemic will soon pass." In contrast, World Health Organization Chief Todros Adenhum Gabris gave alarming figures on its continued spread.