Israel in Secret Talks With Gulf States

YERUSHALAYIM (Reuters) —
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman speaks while hosting Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz on Tuesday.  (Flash90)
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman speaks while hosting Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz on Tuesday. (Flash90)

Israel is holding secret talks with some Arab states that do not formallly recognize it, seeking to establish diplomatic ties based on a common fear of Iran, according to Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

Among the countries he was in contact with were Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, Lieberman told Ynet, the first such disclosure by a senior Israeli official.

The two nations swiftly denied the existence of any talks with Israel.

“For the first time there is an understanding there that the real threat is not Israel, the Jews or Zionism. It is Iran, global jihad, Hizbullah and al Qaida,” the foreign minister said.

“There are contacts, there are talks, but we are very close to the stage in which within a year or 18 months it will no longer be secret, it will be conducted openly,” added Lieberman.

Lieberman said he was in touch with “moderate” Arabs — a term Israelis often use for Sunni states in the Gulf and elsewhere in the Middle East that align with U.S. interests. He also said he would have no problem visiting Saudi Arabia or Kuwait.

“I have spent more than a few years of meetings and talks with them. As far as they are concerned, there is only one red rag and that is Iran,” he said.

A spokesman for Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Ministry said: “There are no ties or talks with Israel at any level.” In Kuwait, Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Khaled al-Jarallah said: “It is not true, we don’t have these kind of talks.”

Ynet paraphrased Lieberman as saying some new Israeli-Arab peace accords would be signed in 2019.

“I’m certain that by then we will have a situation in which we have full diplomatic relations with most of the moderate Arab states. And you can count on my word,” he said.

To Read The Full Story

Are you already a subscriber?
Click to log in!

Hamodia Logo