Jerusalem, Sep 21 (IANS): Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has voiced optimism that a "historic" deal to establish diplomatic ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia could be "within reach".
Netanyahu's comments came after he met US President Joe Biden in New York on the sidelines of the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Xinhua news agency reported, citing a statement from the Prime Minister's office on Wednesday.
It was the first meeting between the two leaders since Netanyahu's return to office in December 2022.
The Biden administration has been working to broker a deal to normalize relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia.
Netanyahu told Biden that "we can forge a historic peace between Israel and Saudi Arabia".
He added that "such a peace would go a long way first to advance the end of the Arab-Israeli conflict, achieve reconciliation between the Islamic world and the Jewish state, and advance a genuine peace between Israel and the Palestinians. This is something within our reach", according to the statement.
Earlier in September, Israel's National Security Council Director Tzachi Hanegbi said his country and the Palestinian Authority have held direct talks as part of Israel's efforts to normalize ties with Saudi Arabia.
Both Riyadh and Washington have emphasized in recent months that any US-brokered agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia would require positive developments toward a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.