Biden secures Red Sea island deals and Israeli use of Saudi airspace
president Joe Biden has reportedly helped solidify an agreement between Israel, Saudi Arabia and Egypt that would solve a long-standing dispute over a couple islands in which Red Sea and allow Israeli planes to transit Saudi airspace for the first time in history.
Corresponding axios, The deal would allow the Saudis to take full control of the islands of Tiran and Sanafir, which have been a demilitarized zone since Egypt and Israel signed the 1979 peace treaty brokered with the help of then-President Jimmy Carter.
A multinational observer force that was in the islands under the treaty will be moved to Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and replaced with cameras to monitor both the islands and the Tiran Strait.
Saudi Arabia will also make commitments to the US to allow Israeli ships free navigation in the straits, and the US will provide security guarantees to Israel based on these commitments.
Officials in the Biden administration have reportedly spent months negotiating the deal, which is particularly complicated because Israel and Saudi Arabia do not have diplomatic ties with each other.
The deal, due to be announced during Mr Biden’s time in Jeddah this weekend, will also pave the way for a separate deal between Israel and the Saudis, giving Israeli airlines like El Al the ability to use Saudi airspace for flights eastbound, and enable charter service between Israel and Saudi Arabia for Muslim pilgrims to Mecca and Medina.
Mr. Biden is expected to take the first-ever direct flight from Israel to Jeddah when he travels there aboard Air Force One on Friday.