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.”