Israel, Saudi Arabia admit secret diplomacy for first time

Israel and Saudi Arabia have a common interest in seeing Iranian influence thwarted in the Middle East.

By
June 5, 2015 02:46
1 minute read.
Dore Gold

Dore Gold. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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Israel and Saudi Arabia have held five secret meetings since the beginning of 2014 to discuss the common threat Iran posses to the region, it was revealed for the first time Thursday at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, according to Bloomberg.

Although the two are considered to be historic enemies, with Saudi Arabia refusing to recognize the Jewish State's right to exist, they never-the-less have engaged in a campaign of clandestine diplomacy in an effort to thwart the Islamic Republic's growing influence in the Middle East.

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Dore Gold, slotted to be the next director general of the Foreign Ministry, and Anwar Majed Eshki, a retired Saudi general and ex-adviser to Prince Bandar bin Sultan and the former Saudi ambassador to the US, both addressed the Washington think-tank event, according to Bloomberg.

"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, adding "But our hope is we will be able to address them fully in the years ahead."

The five bilateral meetings over the last 17 months occurred in India, Italy and the Czech Republic. One participant, Shimon Shapira, a retired Israeli general and an expert on the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, was quoted as saying :"We discovered we have the same problems and same challenges and some of the same answers."

Shapira described the problem as Iran's activities in the region, and said both sides had discussed political and economic ways to blunt them, Bloomberg noted.




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