Justice Minister Tzipi Livni is the right person to lead Israel's negotiating team, Saudi Prince Turki bin Faisal said at the Munich Security Conference Friday.

Livni's office confirmed Sunday that during a question and answer session at the end of a panel on the peace process, featuring Livni, Chief PLO Negotiator Saeb Erekat and American Envoy Martin Indyk, the Saudi prince asked Livni about the Arab Peace Initiative.

At the end of the panel discussion, bin Faisal praised Livni, saying he "understands why [she was] chosen to be Israel's negotiator."

"If only you could sit on the same stage with me and talk about it," Livni responded, hinting at a desire to upgrade reported secret ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia to more open ones.

Livni also called the Arab initiative a positive development, and said Israeli leadership believes that the price of not reaching a peace treaty will be higher than that of signing one.

The Arab Peace Initiative, introduced in 2002 under the auspices of the Arab League, entails full normalization between Israel and the surrounding Arab countries in exchange for a withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines.

The Saudi prince, former ambassador to Washington who also headed his government’s intelligence apparatus, is thought to be a powerful emissary in the eyes of Western diplomats given his intimate
familiarity with Riyadh’s foreign policymakers.

 JPost.com Staff contributed to this report.


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