Emirati Foreign Minister, Abdullah Bin Zayed, met with Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, “secretly” in New York in September 2012, Haaretz reported.
The newspaper quoted two Western diplomats, who asked not to be named, saying that the meeting occurred on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting in New York a day after Netanyahu gave his “red line” speech in which he said that the international community must stop Iran’s uranium enrichment programme.
The diplomats stated that the meeting took place at the Regency Hotel in New York, and Bin Zayed was accompanied by his country’s ambassador to Washington, Yousef Al-Otaiba. They were ushered into the hotel discretely through the underground parking lot and were taken upstairs to Netanyahu’s suite in a service elevator.
According to the diplomats, “Netanyahu and Bin Zayed saw eye to eye on the Iranian nuclear issue,” but that the “foreign minister told Netanyahu his country could not warm up its relations with Israel as long as there was no progress in the peace process with the Palestinians.”
The sources noted:
Netanyahu initiated the meeting. Since re-entering the Prime Minister’s Office in 2009, he has tried to arrange meetings with senior officials from Gulf states, with which Israel has no official diplomatic relations, such as Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain.
The sources said: “Bin Zayed only agreed to the meeting after a long period during which Netanyahu sent messages to senior UAE leaders through intermediaries.”