Saudi Foreign Minister: Crown Prince has no plans to meet Netanyahu

Saudi Arabia's foreign minister says Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is not planning to meet Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Elad Benari ,

Prince Faisal bin Farhan
Prince Faisal bin Farhan

Saudi Arabia's foreign minister said Thursday that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had no plans to meet Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, AFP reports.

The comments came in response to media reports in Israel saying Netanyahu is seeking talks.

"There is no meeting planned between Saudi Arabia and Israel", the Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan was quoted as having told Saudi-owned Al Arabiya English.

"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 stressed.

Asked about Netanyahu's meeting earlier this month with Sudanese leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, Prince Faisal replied, "Sudan is a sovereign nation. They can assess their own sovereign interests."

Like most Arab countries, Saudi Arabia does not have diplomatic ties with Israel though the Gulf Arab monarchies have made a number of recent moves hinting at warmer ties with the Jewish state.

Over the past few years there have been rumors of rapprochement between Israel and Saudi Arabia, but Saudi officials have denied those reports.

Saudi Arabia insists that Israel accept the 2002 Saudi Peace Initiative, which stipulates that 22 Arab countries will normalize ties with Israel in return for an Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria.

Israel to date has rejected the 2002 Saudi proposal due to the fact that it calls for Israel to accept the so-called "right of return" for millions of descendants of Arabs who fled pre-state Israel, effectively bringing an end to the Jewish state.

In late January, Interior Minister Aryeh Deri said that Israeli citizens, both Muslims and Jews, have the right to travel to Saudi Arabia for religious and business visits.

However, Prince Faisal later told CNN that Israeli citizens were not allowed to come to Saudi Arabia.

After US President Donald Trump unveiled his “Deal of the Century”, Saudi Arabia said it "appreciates" Trump's efforts on a Middle East peace plan.