The Trump administration was close to finalizing deals with Indonesia and Mauritania to be the next Muslim states to normalize ties with Israel but ran out of time before Trump’s term was over, two US officials told The Times of Israel this week.
An agreement with Mauritania could have been reached in a matter of weeks, US officials believe. The Northwest African country was selected as a possible candidate for normalizing ties with Israel by Trump’s peace team due to its ties with Israel in the past. In 1999, it became the third member of the Arab League to establish full diplomatic ties with Israel, later cutting ties during Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009.
Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country, was the next most likely candidate to normalize ties with Israel but reaching a deal would have required another month or two.
A senior US official also said that the Trump team was also in “intermediate” talks with Oman and more preliminary talks with Saudi Arabia but admitted that those deals required considerably more time.
“I hope the Biden administration takes advantage of this because these are good for everyone,” the official said. “Peace is not a Republican ideal or a Democratic ideal.”
“If the US wants to continue to motivate the Abraham Accords, three to four more countries should be the low bar for its success. Being unable to deliver that would be a significant disappointment.”
“There’s no doubt that when the US wants to lead toward peace and normalization, more countries will follow,” he concluded.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)