Saudi foreign minister to Arab News: No Israelis attended Pompeo meeting

Saudi foreign minister to Arab News: No Israelis attended Pompeo meeting
US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia John Abizaid (left) and Saudi foreign minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan greet US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his wife Susan as they arrive at Neom, Saudi Arabia. (AFP)
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Updated 24 November 2020

Saudi foreign minister to Arab News: No Israelis attended Pompeo meeting

Saudi foreign minister to Arab News: No Israelis attended Pompeo meeting
  • Prince Faisal bin Farhan says no Israeli officials were at meeting between crown prince and Mike Pompeo
  • 'No such meeting occurred. The only officials present were American and Saudi.'

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister told Arab News on Monday that there were no Israeli officials at a meeting between Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the US Secretary of State.

Prince Faisal bin Farhan has denied reports that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu joined talks in NEOM with Mike Pompeo on Sunday.

He said the meeting was only attended by Saudis, Pompeo himself and the US ambassador to the Kingdom, John Abizaid.

“The only non-Saudis at the meeting with HRH the crown prince were Secretary Pompeo and the US ambassador,” Prince Faisal told Arab News.

Earlier the foreign minister dismissed the reports from his Twitter account.

“I have seen press reports about a purported meeting between HRH the Crown Prince and Israeli officials during the recent visit by @SecPompeo,” Prince Faisal bin Farhan said. “No such meeting occurred. The only officials present were American and Saudi.”

Pompeo met with the crown prince in the northern city of NEOM on Sunday evening as part of his regional tour.

They “reviewed friendship relations, areas of bilateral cooperation between the two countries and ways to enhance them,” Saudi Press Agency reported. They also discussed the latest developments in the Middle East.

The meeting was attended by Prince Faisal and Abizaid.

Recent agreements with the UAE, Bahrain and Sudan to establish relations with Israel have led to speculation that other Arab states may follow.

Saudi Arabia has said there must be a peace agreement first between Israel and the Palestinians before the Kingdom establishes relations with Israel.

Shortly after the UAE agreement with Israel was announced, Prince Faisal said Saudi Arabia would continue to adhere to the Arab Peace Plan in its relations with Israel.

The plan, which was sponsored by the Kingdom in 2002, said ties with Israel would be normalized once a peace agreement was reached with the Palestinians that included an independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

The plan would see Israel withdraw from Palestinian territories occupied since 1967.

“When we sponsored the Arab Peace Plan in 2002, we fully envisioned that there would eventually be relations between all Arab states, including Saudi Arabia, and Israel if the condition is met,” Prince Faisal said in August.

“Saudi Arabia remains committed to peace as a strategic option based on the Arab Peace Plan and relevant international resolutions enabling the Palestinian people to establish their own state with East Jerusalem as its capital.”

 


Fraudsters up their game, posing as bank officials on the phone in Saudi Arabia

Fraudsters up their game, posing as bank officials on the phone in Saudi Arabia
Vishing that occurs during a telephone call aims to provoke fear in the victim so that customers will be more susceptible to giving out personal, financial, or security details. (shutterstock)
Updated 18 January 2021

Fraudsters up their game, posing as bank officials on the phone in Saudi Arabia

Fraudsters up their game, posing as bank officials on the phone in Saudi Arabia
  • The Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) has warned bank customers, both citizens and expatriates, not to fall victim to financial frauds being perpetrated by scammers

JEDDAH: Fraudsters have developed a new scam, contacting residents in Saudi Arabia and pretending to be bank staffers requesting customer details.
A number of Arab News staff have received such calls in recent weeks. One caller spoke Urdu while two other callers posing as senior officials from the headquarters of the bank spoke in English and Arabic with a local accent.
They used phone numbers that appeared to be local numbers but upon calling back, the lines failed to connect.
The racketeers collect phone numbers of customers and ring them up, saying that their bank account or ATM card requires immediate updating. The scammers use the information provided to gain access to their bank accounts.
Speaking to Arab News, Talat Zaki Hafiz, secretary-general of the Media and Banking Awareness Committee of Saudi banks, said: “Saudi banks represented by the Media and Banking Awareness Committee have repeatedly warned bank customers not to react to stray phone calls of any kind coming from unknown sources that ask to update their banking record or personal information.” He further confirmed that banks do not request such information through phone calls or SMS messages.
Mohammed Khurram Khan, a professor of cybersecurity at the King Saud University in Riyadh, told Arab News: “Phishing, an online scam which targets users through emails where individuals are encouraged to click on a link that takes them to fraudulent sites, was troubling people. Now it’s a different kind of scam known as ‘vishing,’ over-the-phone phishing, where scammers persuade users to share their banking information by impersonating a bank official.”

HIGHLIGHT

The racketeers collect phone numbers of customers and ring them up, saying that their bank account or ATM card requires immediate updating. The scammers use the information provided to gain access to their bank accounts.

Vishing that occurs during a telephone call aims to provoke fear in the victim so that customers will be more susceptible to giving out personal, financial, or security details.
Sharing his experience Zafar Hasan, an e-learning consultant in Riyadh, said: “I received a call from someone on an unknown mobile number who introduced himself as a bank employee and told me that my ATM card was going to be blocked. It required an immediate update so I should give my Iqama number (residence permit number) and sixteen-digit ATM card number. I felt something was fishy, so I told him that I would go personally to the bank to update the card.”
The Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) has warned bank customers, both citizens and expatriates, not to fall victim to financial frauds being perpetrated by scammers.
SAMA called on bank customers to take information only from the official channels of the bodies regulating the Kingdom’s financial and investment sectors and inform the competent security authorities about such fraudulent attempts.