Riyadh is adamant.

"No meeting" has taken place between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a Saudi minister said on Monday (November 23rd).

The Wahhabi kingdom thus denies information from the Israeli press, confirmed by the Israeli Minister of Education, according to which the two officials met on Sunday as part of the visit of the head of American diplomacy, Mike Pompeo.

"I saw press reports regarding an alleged meeting between the Crown Prince and Israeli officials during (Mike Pompeo) 's recent visit. No such meeting took place. The only officials present were American and Saudi Arabians, "Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal ben Farhane said on Twitter.

The meeting was first announced by Israeli public radio Kan and that of the army, the Israeli Minister of Education then confirming.

"The mere fact that this meeting took place and that it was made public, even if it is only half confirmed, is of the utmost importance," said Yohav Gallant, at the microphone of military radio. .

It is in the utmost secrecy that the Israeli prime minister is said to have visited Saudi Arabia on Sunday to meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

According to Israeli information, the head of the Israeli government was accompanied by Yossi Cohen, the head of the Mossad, for this visit to Neom, a futuristic city located in the northwest of Saudi Arabia, near Israel.

Attempt of rapprochement between enemies of Tehran

The well-established US Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo is working to convince Saudi Arabia to follow the lead of the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, which have normalized relations with Israel, in part a rapprochement dictated by the aversion of the three countries towards Tehran.

Riyadh, one of Washington's great allies in the region and who is at the forefront of the fight against Iranian influence, however refuses to embark on this path in turn as long as the aspirations of the Palestinians to dispose of their own state will not have been met.

Standardizations with Gulf countries

Israel has announced in recent months agreements to normalize its relations with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, but also Sudan, under the sponsorship of the United States of President Donald Trump, a key ally of Benjamin Netanyahu, who is due to step down. , like Mike Pompeo, in January.

US and Israeli officials spoke of other upcoming deals with Arab countries.

Saudi Arabia is also often cited by analysts as a country that could normalize its relations with Israel, just like Oman, the Gulf monarchy where Benjamin Netanyahu has already visited. 

With AFP and Reuters

The summary of the week

France 24 invites you to come back to the news that marked the week

I subscribe

Take international news everywhere with you!

Download the France 24 application