PM mentions ‘newfound’ ties with Arab countries

By
November 25, 2011 01:28

Gov't official says Israel has had contacts with countries in the region "because of the Iranian nuclear threat."

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PM Netanyahu boards a plane [file]

PM Netanyahu boards a plane 311 (R). (photo credit:Baz Ratner / Reuters)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Thursday that relations were being expanded with some Arab countries, adding fuel to speculation that the countries in question were cooperating with Israel to combat Iran.

During a press conference with visiting Romanian Prime Minister Emil Boc, Netanyahu said at the end of his brief welcoming remarks, “We welcome the fact that we have the ability to expand these newfound friendships – by the way, in the region, as we discussed with some of the countries, the Arab countries, but also outside the region by tightening the bonds [with Romania] that are natural for us.”

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He did not elaborate on which newfound friendships he was referring to among the Arab countries.

Asked about this comment, one government official said that “because of the Iranian nuclear threat, we have had contacts recently with countries in the region who share our concern.”

The official refused to name the countries, though in recent months there has been speculation that Israel was coordinating moves regarding stopping Iran’s nuclear program with Saudi Arabia and several other Gulf states.

The WikiLeaks cache of US diplomatic cables released last year showed that the Gulf states and other Arab leaders were extremely concerned about Iran, with Saudi King Abdullah being quoted in 2008 as exhorting the US to take military action against Tehran to “cut off the head of the snake.”

He was not alone; similar sentiments were articulated in the cables by the leaders of Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Jordan.

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