Israel, Saudi Arabia met secretly to discuss Iran: Report

Jerusalem, June 5 (IANS/EFE) Israel and Saudi Arabia, countries that have no diplomatic relations, met five times secretly to discuss Iran which both consider a regional threat, especially given the approaching deadline for the nuclear deal with the international community, Israeli daily Jerusalem Post reported on Friday.

The meetings have been held since the beginning of 2014 in India, Italy and the Czech Republic in order to carry out a campaign of “secret diplomacy” to minimise the growing influence of Iran in the region.

Dore Gold, nominated to be the next director general of Israel’s foreign ministry and retired Saudi general Anwar Majed Eshki, ex-advisor to Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan and former ambassador to the US, talked about the approach of the two countries in an unusual meeting at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington.

“Our standing today on this stage does not mean we have resolved all the differences that our countries have shared over the years,” Gold said according to Jerusalem Post, going on to say, “But our hope is we will be able to address them fully in the years ahead.”

Israeli paper The Times of Israel reported that the two sides stressed they were not speaking as government representatives but rather as experts in foreign affairs, but both supported the approach of their countries and the momentum of the Arab Peace Initiative

Saudi Arabia proposed the Arab Peace Initiative 13 years ago for laying down the framework to resolve the conflict that will not only involve Israel and Palestine, but also other countries in the region that will commit to recognise Israel and establish diplomatic relations to achieve peace.

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