Saudi crown prince won’t meet Netanyahu, Riyadh says
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Saudi crown prince won’t meet Netanyahu, Riyadh says

Following Israeli media reports PM seeking pre-election meeting with Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi FM says kingdom ‘stands firmly behind Palestine’

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman poses during a group picture ahead of Islamic Summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, June 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman poses during a group picture ahead of Islamic Summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, June 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said Thursday Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had no plans to meet Benjamin Netanyahu, after media reports said the prime minister was seeking talks.

“There is no meeting planned between Saudi Arabia and Israel,” Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan told Saudi-owned Al Arabiya English, responding to the recent reports in Israeli media.

“Saudi Arabia’s policy has been very clear since the beginning of this conflict. There are no relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel and the kingdom stands firmly behind Palestine,” the foreign minister said.

Like most Arab countries, Saudi Arabia does not have diplomatic ties with Israel.

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan attends a meeting in Athens, January 24, 2020. (Petros Giannakouris/AP)

But the Gulf Arab monarchies, which share Israel’s enmity toward Iran, have made a number of recent moves hinting at warmer ties with the Jewish state.

However, in late January, Prince Faisal told US TV channel CNN that Israeli citizens were not allowed to come to Saudi Arabia, after the Jewish state said it had given its citizens the green light to visit.

Saudi Arabia also said it “appreciates” US President Donald Trump’s efforts on a Middle East peace plan that has been bitterly rejected by the Palestinians.

When asked about Netanyahu’s meeting earlier this month with Sudanese leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, Prince Faisal said: “Sudan is a sovereign nation. They can assess their own sovereign interests.”

The Palestine Liberation Organization called the meeting “a stab in the back of the Palestinian people.”

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