Israeli Education Minister Yoav Gallant confirmed reports that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held his first-ever known meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Neom, a claim denied by Riyadh.
Speaking on Israel’s Army Radio on Monday, Yoav – a member of Netanyahu’s Likud party – lauded the alleged meeting as an “incredible achievement” and congratulated Netanyahu.
I have seen press reports about a purported meeting between HRH the Crown Prince and Israeli officials during the recent visit by @SecPompeo. No such meeting occurred. The only officials present were American and Saudi.
— فيصل بن فرحان (@FaisalbinFarhan) November 23, 2020
“Let’s say that the very existence of the meeting, the fact that it was put out publicly, even if it’s half official at the moment, is a matter of great importance from any aspect and matter,” CNN quoted Gallad as saying on the radio.
The Crown Prince and Netanyahu reportedly held secret talks in NEOM on Sunday, according to flight data of a private plane frequently used by the Israeli.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Mossad chief Yossi Cohen are also reported to have attended the alleged meeting.
— The Palestine Chronicle (@PalestineChron) November 23, 2020
However, Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry denied reports of the meeting.
“I have seen press reports about a purported meeting between HRH the Crown Prince and Israeli officials during the recent visit by @SecPompeo,” Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said in a tweet on Monday.
Israel has yet to officially comment.
The reports come amid suggestions that Saudi Arabia could follow the UAE, Bahrain and Sudan in normalizing relations with Israel.
(Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, PC, Social Media)