Israeli PM Netanyahu meets in secret with Saudi Crown Prince

They met in the presence of US Secretary of State Pompeo

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a secret visit to Saudi Arabia on Sunday to meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was paying an official visit to the country.

According to the Israeli press, Mossad chief Yossi Cohen accompanied Netanyahu on a visit to the city of Neom, a futuristic city in northwestern Saudi Arabia near the border with Israel.

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The Israeli prime minister’s office and the US embassy in Jerusalem have not yet commented on the media reports.

Haaretz newspaper’s Avi Scharf published the information about the location of the aircraft, according to which an aircraft flew yesterday from Tel Aviv to Neom, where bin Salman had a scheduled meeting with Pompeo.

The US Secretary of State is trying to persuade Riyadh to follow the example of its neighbors, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, and to establish formal diplomatic relations with Israel, an approach based largely on the countries’ common concern about Iran.

So far, Riyadh has refused to normalise relations with Israel, saying the issue of a Palestinian state must be resolved first. But the Saudis are now allowing Israeli aircraft to pass through their airspace to reach other destinations in the Gulf region or Asia.