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Official: Netanyahu met Saudi crown prince in Riyadh

Official: Netanyahu met Saudi crown prince in Riyadh
posted onNovember 24, 2020

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu travelled to Saudi Arabia and met its crown prince, Reuters reported citing an Israeli official on Monday.

 It would be the first publicly confirmed visit there by an Israeli leader. The two countries are getting closer as both stand against Iran.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is also in Saudi Arabia, media reported.

Earlier, Israeli media said Netanyahu had secretly flown on Sunday to Neom, on the Red Sea, for talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Pompeo.

However, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud denied reports of the meeting between the crown prince and Netanyahu.

“I met Pompeo at the airport and went with him to the meeting. I then took him back to the airport. Saudi and American officials were the only ones present throughout,” he said according to Reuters.

Netanyahu, speaking publicly after the Saudi denial, refused to comment on the matter.

Asked at a meeting of his right-wing Likud faction about a Saudi visit, Netanyahu replied: “Are you serious? Friends, throughout my years I have never commented on such things and I don’t intend to start doing so now.”

But asked about the visit, A member of Netanyahu’s security cabinet Yoav Gallant told Army Radio: “The very fact the meeting happened, and was outed publicly, even if half-officially right now, is a matter of great importance.”

Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz, in a speech, condemned “the irresponsible leak of the secret flight to Saudi Arabia,” Reuters reported.