Israel calls for Saudi Arabia ties

2017-06-22 23:15
Newly enthroned Saudi King Salman. (SPA, AP)

Newly enthroned Saudi King Salman. (SPA, AP)

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Doha - Israel's intelligence and transportation minister has called on Saudi Arabia's King Salman to invite Prime Minister Netanyahu to Riyadh to establish full diplomatic relations. 

Speaking at the Herzliya conference on Thursday, Yisrael Katz also asked King Salman to send newly appointed crown prince Mohammed bin Salman to Tel Aviv after describing shared interest regarding Iran. 

"I call upon Salman, the King of Saudi, to invite the prime minister of Israel Netanyahu to visit Saudi Arabia," Katz said. 

"We saw what a wonderful host you can be ... when President Trump was there. You can also send your heir, the new one, Prince Mohammed bin Salman. He's a dynamic person. He is an initiator. And he wants to break through.

"Exactly this way ... they know who Iran is. They know we have to create an access vis-a-vis Iran. You can send him for a meeting in Israel and I promise you, he's going to be a very welcome guest."

Avigdor Lieberman, Israel's defence minister, also called on establishing "full diplomatic and economic relations" during the conference, where Israeli leaders annually present national strategic initatives.

Lieberman said a peace deal must be reached with what he referred to as "moderate Arab Sunni countries" before a peace agreement could be made with the Palestinians.

"The only light at the end of the tunnel is a complete regional agreement," Lieberman, who has previously advocated paying Palestinians to leave Palestine, said. "Full diplomatic and economic relations. Not under the table, but on the table.

"I saw research on what the result of a regional agreement and full economic relations would mean between Israel, the Gulf countries and Saudi Arabia. This would mean an additional revenue of $45bn for Israel. That's the potential. We have to clearly say what our priorities are."

READ MORE: What do Saudi Arabia and Israel have in common?

Reporting from Herzliya, Al Jazeera's Harry Fawcett acknowledged that the idea of Arab countries establishing relations with Israel would be difficult.

"The idea that these countries would so openly cooperate with Israel would be pretty difficult for them to sell to their own public and more broadly," Fawcett said.

"However it does seem [Lieberman] wants to apply pressure in this direction.

"We see from Lieberman's perspective that he sees an opportunity to make the most of Trump's recent visit, [the idea of] a peace deal with the Palestinians, and the recent diplomatic crisis in the GCC."

Read more on:    king salman  |  israel  |  saudi arabia

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