Israel prepares for war, re/Saudi Arabia


Richard Moore

Original source URL:

Israel 'holds secret Saudi talks'

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has held an 
unprecedented meeting with a senior member of the 
Saudi royal family, Israeli officials say.

The meeting 12 days ago has not been confirmed by 
Saudi Arabia, which has no official contacts with 

Israeli media say they discussed Iran's nuclear 
programme and a Saudi peace plan adopted by Arab 
states in 2002.

Last week Mr Olmert voiced approval of recent 
Saudi moves, "both those made publicly and others 
as well".

In the same interview, with Yediot Aharonot 
newspaper, Mr Olmert declined to answer whether 
he had met senior Saudis, saying: "I don't have 
to answer every question."

But he did praise Saudi ruler King Abdullah's 
"wisdom and sense of responsibility".

The secret meeting is widely reported in Monday's 
Israeli newspapers and radio bulletins, quoting 
Israeli officials.

Although no public statement have been issued, a 
senior government official was quoted by the 
Associated Press news agency saying Mr Olmert had 
not met King Abdullah.

Shortly afterwards, Yediot's website published a 
carefully worded denial by Mr Olmert himself, 
saying: "I did not meet the Saudi king and I did 
not meet with any element that should have caused 
a media sensation."

Election pledge

Yediot said the reported meeting had the backing 
of Israel's main ally, the US, which is also a 
strong supporter of oil-rich Saudi Arabia royal 

Saudi Arabia is the author of a plan which offers 
Israel diplomatic recognition from all Arab 
states in return for a complete withdrawal from 
the territory it occupied by Israel in 1967 and a 
negotiated solution to the 58-year Palestinian 
refugee issue.

Mr Olmert's Kadima party won Israeli elections in 
March with a pledge to withdraw unilaterally from 
parts of the occupied West Bank, while holding 
onto the settlement blocs where most Israeli 
settlers live.

The plan was shelved during the conflict this 
summer between Israel and Hezbollah militants in 

Saudi Arabia was one of the countries calling for 
an immediate ceasefire in that conflict, but 
condemned Hezbollah's "reckless adventurism" for 
capturing two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border 
raid at the start of the conflict.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2006/09/25 11:22:41 GMT


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