Israeli minister congratulates Netanyahu over 'semi-official' MbS meeting despite Saudi denial

Israeli minister congratulates Netanyahu over 'semi-official' MbS meeting despite Saudi denial
Both Saudi and Israeli diplomatic sources have now confirmed the alleged meeting, which Saudi Arabia's foreign ministry denied.
2 min read
24 November, 2020
The Israeli FM has not denied or confirmed the meeting yet [Getty]
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.

"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.

However, Saudi Arabia's foreign ministry denied reports of the meeting.

Read also: Saudi king, Turkish president to 'resolve differences' through dialogue

"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 normalising relations with Israel.

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