Saudi foreign minister: No meeting planned with Netanyahu

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‘There are no relations with Israel and the kingdom stands firmly behind Palestine’

Dubai: Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said no meeting is planned between the kingdom’s crown prince and Israel’s prime minister, a statement apparently meant to quash reports circulating in Israeli media this week of an alleged summit between the two.

“There is no meeting planned between Saudi Arabia and Israel. Saudi Arabia’s policy has been very clear since the beginning of this conflict,” Foreign Minister Prince Faisal Bin Farhan told the Saudi-owned Al Arabiya English news website in a report on Thursday.

“There are no relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel and the kingdom stands firmly behind Palestine,” the minister said, adding that it’s not unique to have shared interests with Israel in countering Iran since there are many other countries with a similar policy.

Still, the statement was an unusual rebuttal by the kingdom’s most senior diplomat to reports circulating in Israeli media, which had reported that a meeting was being planned between Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The two countries do not have formal diplomatic relations.

Saudi Arabia continues to publicly stress it is not softening its policies towards Israel. It recently rebuffed suggestions that Israelis would be granted visas to the kingdom following a change in Israel and allow Israeli citizens to travel to Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia expressed support for President Donald Trump’s efforts at resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but days later joined other Muslim nations in rejecting the White House’s plan as “biased.”