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The New Arab Staff

Saudi king 'not informed' of secret MbS, Netanyahu meeting

The monarch reportedly did not know of the meeting [Getty]

Date of publication: 29 November, 2020

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A secret meeting between Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was kept hidden from his father, King Salman, reports said.
Saudi Arabia's King Salman was left unaware of a secret meeting between the crown prince and Israel's prime minister in Neom, Reuters reported.

The Saudi monarch was not informed of Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to the kingdom, where the Israeli PM met with his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, according to Saudi sources.

The meeting has been rejected and slammed as "rumours" by Riyadh, despite several Saudi and Israel sources confirming it had taken place.

No agreements were made during the meeting, which took place in the northwestern city of Neom and involved Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the head of Israel's Mossad intelligence agency, the WSJ reported.

Instead, the Saudi crown prince, widely known as MbS, hopes to utilise the promise of a normalisation deal with Israel to rebuild ties with the incoming Democratic administration.

A historic US ally, Riyadh has suffered a damaged reputation in Washington since the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

Although President Donald Trump stood by MbS, both Republicans and Democrats joined popular calls for sanctions and a halt to arms exports over the Khashoggi killing and the leading Saudi role in the brutal war in Yemen.

The incoming Biden-Harris administration is expected to take Riyadh's human rights violations more seriously and pursue greater accountability on issues such as the detention of rights activists.

Riyadh is among a number of Arab states rumoured to have been mulling an agreement with Israel in recent years, but the crown prince and de-facto ruler appears to have been hesitant to follow suit with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain this year.

Bin Salman nixed plans to normalise ties with Israel after Biden was declared the winner of the November 3 US election, the Wall Street Journal reported.

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