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Saudi Arabia denies ‘UAE meeting’ between Netanyahu and Bin Salman

March 12, 2021 at 4:10 pm

Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed Bin Salman in Saudi Arabia on 5 January 2021 [Royal Council of Saudi Arabia/Anadolu Agency]

A high-ranking Saudi official has denied that Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman was scheduled to meet Benjamin Netanyahu in the UAE yesterday. The denial followed a report by the Israeli Broadcasting Corporation (Makan) on Wednesday about Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit to the UAE on Thursday.

“Netanyahu will hold talks with the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan,” said Makan. “Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman may join them.”

According to Israel’s Channel 12, Netanyahu was expected to spend two hours in the UAE entirely at Abu Dhabi airport. Reuters said that the report was not immediately confirmed by Netanyahu’s office or the UAE.

Israel established formal relations with the UAE and Bahrain last September as part of an agreement brokered by the United States known as the “Abraham Accords”. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia encouraged such rapprochement between the Arab countries and Tel Aviv, but did not go to the extent of recognising the state of Israel itself.

In November, Israeli officials and well informed sources stated that Netanyahu and Bin Salman had met secretly in the Kingdom, but Reuters said that Riyadh denied the claim.

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