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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 11/24/20

Saudi FM denies Netanyahu visited Saudi Arabia

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Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan denied Israeli media reports Monday that a meeting occurred between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), in the Saudi town of Neom.

Israel's Army Radio and Kan Radio both claimed that the Israeli Prime Minister and the head of Israel's spy agency, the Mossad, Yosef Meir Cohen, secretly flew to Neom from Tel Aviv to meet Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince.

"I received and bid farewell to Secretary of State Pompeo in the airport in Neom and attended his meeting with the Crown Prince. There were no Israelis present," Saudi Arabian foreign minister Prince Faisal told Al Arabiya English.

The BBC's Chief International Correspondent Lyse Doucet, who is in Riyadh, says senior Saudi officials are denying this highly sensitive story, on and off the record.

This has long been a matter of very delicate diplomacy for the kingdom, which has taken an awkward, if not embarrassing, turn, she adds.

The Red Sea resort of Neom is a hi-tech and tourism hub planned by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. It is close to the borders of Egypt and Jordan, and only some 70km (44 miles) from the southern tip of Israel.

The Israeli media claim came weeks after Israel was recognized by the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan. The deals were brokered by US President Donald Trump, who leaves office in less than two months.

There has been widespread speculation, within Israel and the US that Washington may push for other Arab states to follow suit before President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was in Israel last week, was also at the reported talks, according to Kan's diplomatic correspondent.

Pompeo has confirmed he was in Neom on the Red Sea as part of a Middle East Tour and met MBS.

Saudi stance

Saudi Arabia has said it would stick to the decades-old Arab League position of not having ties with Israel until the Jewish state's conflict with the Palestinians is resolved.

The Palestinians have condemned the normalization deals as "a stab in the back", urging Arab states to hold firm until Israel ends its occupation of Palestinian territory and agrees to the creation of a Palestinian state.

In late August, Netanyahu claimed Israel was holding "unpublicized meetings with Arab and Muslim leaders to normalize relations with the state of Israel", without naming any countries.

FlightRadar24.com

According to data from FlightRadar24.com, a Gulfstream IV jet took off from Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International airport on Sunday afternoon and flew south along the eastern coast of Egypt's Sinai Peninsula before heading towards Saudi Arabia's north-western Red Sea coast, the BBC reported Monday.

The aircraft landed in Neom just after 18:30 GMT and remained there until 21:50, according to the data. It then returned to Tel Aviv via the same route.

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Abdus-Sattar Ghazali Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
 
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