Middle East Monitor / December 5, 2020
Former Head of Saudi intelligence Prince Turki al-Faisal has denied news of an approaching Saudi normalisation deal with the occupation, as well as the alleged meeting held by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, calling the latter a “liar”.
This came in an interview with CNN, in which Al-Faisal discussed the leaks of a supposed meeting that took place between the Saudi crown prince and Netanyahu, which Saudi Arabia has denied.
He also talked about Saudi relations with the US, especially with the imminent change in the White House.
The Neom meeting
The Saudi prince categorically denied that the Saudi monarch met with the Israeli prime minister in the city of Neom last week, after Israeli and US sources leaked the news.
Al-Faisal asserted: “The Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal Bin Farhan completely denied the allegations. Unfortunately, the media prioritises news coming from Israel over the ones issued in the kingdom.”
He added: “The kingdom denied the news, and I believe that the kingdom’s credibility is highly estimated more than the allegations made by someone like Netanyahu, who is accused in his country of lying to the Israeli people, so how can they believe a liar?”
Normalisation with Israel
In response to a question about whether there are preparations for normalising relations with Israel, Al-Faisal affirmed: “There is no preparation of such kind.”
The Saudi prince also confirmed: “The kingdom’s steadfast position has been further emphasised by the king in his speech before the Consultative Assembly of Saudi Arabia, when he mentioned that the Palestinian cause is the kingdom’s priority and that the kingdom is committed to the Arab Peace Initiative.”
Al-Faisal continued by asking: “Why do you refuse to believe the king and you continue to trust Netanyahu’s words?”
Relations with Biden
As for the future of relations between Saudi Arabia and the US during Biden’s upcoming era, Al-Faisal asserted that the kingdom has always held historical ties with the US through the different mandates of Democratic and Republican presidents. He noted that when President-elect Biden was Obama’s vice president, Saudi Arabia’s relations with the Obama administration at the time were satisfactory.
Al-Faisal added: “We disagreed over a few issues in the past, but we are looking forward to President Biden being well-acquainted with the value of relations with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, because the kingdom is a friend of the US.”
Riyadh officially denied the news that Israeli media circulated about a meeting held last week in Neom between the Saudi crown prince and Netanyahu. Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal Bin Farhan Al-Saud confirmed that the meeting was attended by US and Saudi officials only.