Saudi Arabia denies prince made diplomatic visit to Israel

Official says reports are unfounded after Israeli media reported trip by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud (AFP)
Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud (AFP)

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Saudi Arabia on Sunday denied that any of its officials had visited Israel, after Israeli media reported that a senior prince had made a secret diplomatic trip there.

“Reports of a secret visit to Israel by a Saudi official, which have appeared on some media, are unfounded,” a spokesman for the Saudi foreign ministry said.

“Saudi Arabia has always been transparent as regards contacts and visits” to foreign countries, the spokesman said in a statement carried by the official SPA news agency.

Israeli radio last month reported that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had secretly met officials in Israel.

Israeli officials never confirmed the reports.

In 2002, Saudi Arabia proposed a peace initiative offering Arab countries’ recognition of Israel in return for Israel’s withdrawal from territories occupied in 1967 and the creation of a Palestinian state.

The plan was never put into action.

There are no indications that Arab states are set to formally recognize Israel.

But like Israel, most Gulf states including Saudi Arabia prioritize curbing Iran’s regional influence.

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