Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister on Monday denied reports that a meeting took place between Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Israeli officials on Sunday.
“I have seen press reports about a purported meeting between HRH the Crown Prince and Israeli officials during the recent visit by Secretary of State Pompeo. No such meeting occurred. The only officials present were American and Saudi,” Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud tweeted.
The officials referred to included Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Mossad chief Yossi Cohen.
Earlier in the day, Israel’s Education Minister Yoav Gallant confirmed reports of the trip, calling it “an amazing achievement.”
Defense Minister Benny Gantz gave a left-handed confirmation of the meeting, as he condemned “the irresponsible leak of the secret flight to Saudi Arabia,” according to Reuters.
The Wall Street Journal quoted a Saudi government adviser as saying that the meeting, which lasted several hours, focused on Iran and the possibility of normalization with Israel, but yielded no agreements.
Ynet quoted two officials involved in the talks who said the Saudi crown prince did not object to the meeting being publicized.
However, Netanyahu’s office has so far declined comment. The prime minister himself would only say at the Likud faction meeting on Monday that “I have not commented on such matters for years and I am not going to start now. For years I haven’t spared any effort to strengthen Israel and broaden the circle of peace.”
Ehud Ya’ari, a veteran correspondent for Channel 12 news, said Netanyahu’s meeting with the crown prince was “not the first” they’ve had, and said the Saudi foreign minister’s denial should be taken with a grain of salt.