Report: Israeli PM meets senior Saudi official, possibly with King Abdullah
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has recently held talks with a member of Saudi Arabia's royal family on Middle East peace and Iran's nuclear program, Israel's Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper reported on Monday.
Israel's most circulated daily reported that some of its sources said Olmert met King Abdullah 10 days ago. Other sources, the newspaper said, identified the Saudi as another senior member of the royal family.
Asked about the reported meeting, a spokeswoman for Olmert said: "I don't know about it. I know nothing."
Gideon Ezra, an Israeli cabinet minister, said on Israel Radio the only information he had about any such talks came from the newspaper report.
According to the Tel Aviv-based newspaper, the Saudi peace plan, proposed in 2002, was a main item on the agenda of the Israeli-Saudi talks. Iran's support for Lebanon's Hizbullah movement and Tehran's nuclear plans have caused concern in Saudi Arabia and led to the meeting, Yedioth Ahronoth said. It said Israel's main ally, the United States, had approved the talks.
In an interview with Yedioth Ahronoth last week, Olmert hailed King Abdullah for his "wisdom and sense of responsibility". Asked in the interview if Israel was holding secret talks with Saudi Arabia, Olmert replied: "I don't have to answer every question."
Also last week, Yedioth Ahronoth reported that Israel and Saudi Arabia had been holding secret talks since fighting erupted between Israel and Hizbullah.
The newspaper said that that talks were due to Saudi Arabia's realization that Iran was capable of destabilizing the Middle East.