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Saudi Arabia denies meeting with Israeli Minister of the Economy 

February 27, 2024 at 8:23 am

Majid Al-Qasabi, Saudi Arabia’s minister of commerce and investment, speaks during the Saudi Arabia-Japan Business Forum for Saudi Arabia Vision 2030 in Tokyo, Japan, on 1 September ,2016 [Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg via Getty Images]

Saudi Arabia has denied social media allegations that a meeting was held between its Minister of Commerce, Majid Al-Qasabi, and Israel’s Minister of the Economy, Nir Barkat, on the sidelines of a conference in the UAE, Saudi Press Agency has reported.

The Saudi comment was in response to a video clip on social media about such a meeting. The Israeli Public Broadcasting Authority Kan 11 reported on Monday that Barkat did meet Al-Qasabi in Abu Dhabi. It shared both a photograph and the video clip.

“Minister Barkat and the Saudi minister shook hands and discussed the desire to enhance economic cooperation between the two countries,” Kan 11 quoted the Israeli minister’s office as saying.

According to an official Saudi source, however, “The video circulated was while Al-Qasabi was standing with his Nigerian counterpart, prior to the opening of the 13th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation in Abu Dhabi. The individual [Barkat] shook the Saudi minister’s hand and then was introduced, without Al-Qasabi’s prior knowledge.”

The source reiterated the Kingdom’s “firm position on the Palestinian issue and its steadfast support for the Palestinian people against Israeli aggression.”

In early February, the Saudi Foreign Ministry announced that it had informed the Biden administration that the Kingdom will not normalise relations with Israel unless an independent Palestinian state is recognised on 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital; the Israeli aggression in Gaza is stopped; and the occupation forces are withdrawn from the Palestinian enclave.

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