World News – CA – Netanyahu, Mossad chief traveled to Saudi Arabia, met with Crown Prince – report

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On the first such visit, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traveled to Saudi Arabia on Sunday, where he met with Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, an Israeli official, told Hebrew media on Monday.

Netanyahu was in Neom, a city on the Red Sea, for five hours to hold the first known high-level meeting between an Israeli and a Saudi leader. He was reportedly accompanied by Mossad intelligence chief Yossi Cohen.

Pompeo said earlier Monday that he had a « constructive » meeting with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia the night before as he completed a seven-nation tour that included stops in Israel and the Gulf States. He did not mention the reported presence of the Israeli leader.

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“It’s a pleasure to meet the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Our security and economic partnership is strong and we will continue to use it to advance efforts to combat the evil Iranian influence in the Gulf, the economic goals as part of the Vision 2030 plan and human rights reform, ”the top American diplomat described the meeting as « constructive. ”

There was no confirmation of the reports from Israel, the US or Saudi Arabia. However, in a note on the trip, a Netanyahu aide tweeted a report about Defense Secretary Benny Gantz, who was conducting an investigation into a scandal involving the acquisition of fleets, writing, “Gantz plays politics while the prime minister makes peace. ”

The public broadcaster Kan reported that talks were focused on Iran and the future Biden government.

Netanyahu and Cohen traveled to Saudi Arabia on businessman Ehud Angel’s private plane – the same jet Kan said the prime minister had used for an undercover visit to Oman last year.

The reports came after Twitter users noticed that a private jet made a rare trip between Tel Aviv and Neom on Sunday evening, sparking speculation about a high-level meeting.

It was Bibi’s ex-favorite Bizjet t7-cpx. Back to Tel Aviv after 5 hours on the floor picture. Twitter. com / Ty9aedYbsK

Netanyahu was originally supposed to hold a meeting of his coronavirus cabinet on Sunday evening, but pushed it back by a day, saying the preparatory work still needs to be completed.

Gantz, who was kept in the dark about efforts to forge links with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, had complained earlier Sunday that he had not been informed of the postponement of the coronavirus cabinet meeting.

An Israeli official told the Hebrew media that neither Gantz nor Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, also a member of the Blue and White party, had received advance notice of Netanyahu’s trip to Saudi Arabia.

A trip by the Israeli leader to Saudi Arabia would be a turning point in the shift in Gulf ties with Israel, which have been strengthened in recent months at the urging of the Trump administration.

Netanyahu made a secret visit to Oman, another Gulf state with which Israel has no diplomatic relations, in May 2019.

It is believed that covert relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia have increased in recent years. The change in policy was reportedly spearheaded by the Crown Prince, who sees Israel as a strategic partner in fighting Iranian influence in the region.

The Trump administration has hoped that Saudi Arabia, along with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, will recognize Israel and establish diplomatic ties. This move is seen as increasingly distant after Joe Biden’s election as US President. But the Saudi leaders have so far indicated that Israeli-Palestinian peace must come first.

When President Donald Trump announced in late October that Israel and Sudan would make peace, he predicted that Saudi Arabia would soon follow suit. During a conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President of the Sudanese Council of Sudan, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, Trump brought reporters into the Oval Office and stated, “The State of Israel and the Republic of Sudan have agreed Make peace, « and told reporters that there are five more countries » that want to come in. ”

« We expect Saudi Arabia to be one of those countries, » Trump added as he praised the country’s « highly respected » rulers, King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

When the White House announced in August that the United Arab Emirates and Israel had agreed to forge full diplomatic ties – a move Bahrain took weeks later – Saudi Arabia renounced the deal despite Palestinian requests criticize or hold summits condemning the decision to do so. The Palestinians have labeled the deals « a betrayal of Jerusalem, the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Palestinian cause », but the government-controlled Saudi media hailed them as historic and good for regional peace.

The kingdom also approved the use of Saudi airspace for Israeli flights to the UAE, a decision announced the day after Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor, met with the Crown Prince in Riyadh. Kushner has urged Arab states to normalize relations with Israel, saying that the Jewish state could eventually have fully normalized relations with Saudi Arabia.

The outgoing US administration and Israel are also trying to increase pressure on Iran in the final days of the Trump White House.

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Saudi Arabia, Mike Pompeo, Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, Mohammed bin Salman, Joe Biden

World News – CA – Netanyahu, Mossad chief traveled to Saudi Arabia, met with Crown Prince Report

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