07/25/2016, 13.37
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Saudi delegation meets Israeli officials in Jerusalem to discuss Iran and Palestine peace initiative

by Joshua Lapide

After a year, Israel and Saudi Arabia make public their talks on Mideast "challenges". Opposed to last year’s Iranian nuclear deal, the two talk about the stalled 2002 Arab peace imitative based on diplomatic relations in exchange for peace and the creation of a Palestinian state.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews) – A Saudi delegation met yesterday with Israeli government representatives in Jerusalem. The meeting’s aim for was to address the Iranian "danger" and resume the Israeli-Palestinian peace initiative, local media report.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said the meeting between retired Saudi general Anwar Eshki and Foreign Ministry Director General Dore Gold took place at the King David hotel in west Jerusalem but did not give further details.

Local press said that the Saudi delegation included "businessmen and academics" and that its main mission was to promote the stalled Saudi-led 2002 Arab peace initiative.

The latter would see Arab countries establish diplomatic relations with Israel in exchange for the creation of a Palestinian State, after the withdrawal of Israel from the occupied territories.

During the meeting, Eskhi met Major General Yoav Mordechai, head of the military body that coordinates Israeli activities in the West Bank and Gaza.

Israel and Saudi Arabia have never had diplomatic relations but media reports suggest the two have shared intelligence in the face of shared concerns over Iran and the Islamic State group.

Eshki and Gold shared a platform in June last year at the Washington headquarters of the Council on Foreign Relations and “met to discuss opportunities and challenges in the Middle East,” the council said on its website at the time

"Their speeches focused on the danger Iran posed to their countries, and they revealed that they had been in secret discussions for a year, and had now decided to go public about their talks," it added.

Israel and Saudi Arabia are among the few countries unhappy with the Iran nuclear agreement signed by Tehran and the major powers.

Some prominent Israelis have instead suggested that Israel should develop its relations with Iran, which would be Israel’s “best ally”.

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