Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak met the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani on Friday, on the sidelines of the UN Millennium Summit in New York, an Israeli official said.
"This is the first meeting of an Israeli leader with the Emir of Qatar," a senior Israeli official told AFP.
"The purpose of the meeting was to strengthen ties and to discuss the upgrading of relations between the two countries," he added.
Barak's top security adviser Danny Yatom and Qatar's Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabr al-Thani, also took part in the meeting, Israeli officials said.
Israel and Qatar established diplomatic relations in 1996 and opened interests offices in Tel Aviv and Doha delaing with commercial issues.
Israel has diplomatic relations only with Qatar and Oman among the Gulf states.
Israeli officials told AFP that during the period of slane prime minister Yitzak Rabin, Barak's mentor, the Israeli leader met with Qatar's foreign minister.
Qatar organised in 1997 the fourth economic conference for the Middle East and North Africa with the particiation of an Israeli delegation led by former minister of commerce and industry, Nathan Sharansky.
Israeli former prime minister Shimon Peres also attended the conference -- UNITED NATIONS (AFP)
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