Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammad Bin Salman in Saudi Arabia on 1 June 2019 [BANDAR ALGALOUD /SAUDI KINGDOM COUNCIL/HANDOUT/Anadolu Agency]
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman has cancelled a secret meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington next week after news about it was leaked.
According to Middle East Eye, the visit was to take place after the Republican Party Convention. Complete secrecy was essential, explained an anonymous source. With backing from Donald Trump and his senior advisor Jared Kushner, the Saudi and Israeli leaders were to shake hands. This would signal growing relations between their countries; not a “full announcement of normalisation… but a hint in that direction.”
The visit was part of a mutual agreement between Bin Salman and Trump. The prince “agreed to it because Trump and Kushner were pushing for it.” It was also allegedly to benefit the de facto Saudi leader’s reputation and “relaunch his image as a peacemaker.”
Bin Salman’s cancellation of the trip came a day after the UAE cancelled its own tripartite meeting with US and Israeli officials scheduled for last Friday. It pulled out due to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s opposition to the sale of US F-35 fighter jets to the Emirates.
Source: Middle East Monitor