Officials from Saudi Arabia and Israel met on Monday in Los Angeles, California, in a move that could be a major step towards a thaw in the relations between the two countries.
The meeting was held on the sideline of the Middle East Security Forum at Sinai Temple, Los Angeles. It was attended by Prince Turki al-Faisal, former Saudi Intelligence chief, Prince Khalid bin Salman, Saudi ambassador to the U.S., and Dr. Yousef bin Trad bin Yousef Al-Sadoun, deputy minister for international organization affairs of Saudi Foreign Ministry as the Saudi representatives on one side of the table and Efraim Halevy, former Mossad chief and Ron Dermer, Israel's ambassador to the U.S. who represented Israel on the other side of the table, sources close to the two sides confirmed.
The two sides discussed latest developments in the Middle East, Arab-Israeli relations, and the prospect of Saudi Arabia-Israel diplomatic relations. They set a timetable in order to accelerate the process of normalizations of relations and clearing of mutual misunderstanding, which is going to be presented to senior officials of the two countries, the sources said.
This was the first formal meeting between Israel and Saudi Arabia that included incumbent officials from both countries. Some retired politicians had already played role in political lobbying to bring Saudi Arabia and Israel closer to each other, including Prince Turki al-Faisal, who has had a key role in behind-the-certain activities in this regard.
The new crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammad bin Salman aims at introducing fundamental reforms in the kingdom's foreign policies beside socio-political ones. Establishing relations with Israel would be in line with the same agenda.