Monday, April 14, 2014

Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and other "moderate" Arabs meeting Israeli officials

    Monday, April 14, 2014   No comments

Saudi foreign minister
Israel is holding secret talks with some Arab states that do not recognise it, looking to establish diplomatic ties based on a common fear of Iran, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Monday.
   
Amongst the countries he was in contact with were Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, Lieberman told newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth - the first such disclosure by a senior Israeli official.

   
Saudi Arabia denied having any talks with Israel. Kuwait was not immediately available for comment.
   
Both these states, along with most other Arab nations, have traditionally been highly hostile towards Israel, which has only signed peace deals with two neighbours - Egypt and Jordan.
   
However, anti-Israeli sentiment was being superseded by a growing concern over Iran's nuclear programme, Tehran's regional allies, and the menace of Islamist militancy, Lieberman said.
   
"For the first time there is an understanding there that the real threat is not Israel, the Jews or Zionism. It is Iran, global jihad, (Lebanese Shi'ite guerrilla group) Hezbollah and al Qaeda," the foreign minister said.
   
"There are contacts, there are talks, but we are very close to the stage in which within a year or 18 months it will no longer be secret, it will be conducted openly," added Lieberman, who is a far rightist in the coalition government.
   
Lieberman said he was in touch with "moderate" Arabs - a term Israelis often use for Sunni states in the Gulf and elsewhere in the Middle East that align with U.S. interests. He also said he would have no problem visiting Saudi Arabia or Kuwait.
   
"I have spent more than a few years of meetings and talks with them. As far as they are concerned, there is only one red rag and that is Iran," he said.

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