Saudi Arabia cancels Mossad leader’s visit

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Saudi Arabia has abruptly cancelled the visit of an Israeli official last week, presumed to be the Mossad head. This came after Israel disclosed information about the secret meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, in the presence of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Neom, less than two weeks ago.

Yedioth Ahronoth quoted sources stating that the official, whose visit to Saudi Arabia had been cancelled, is Head of Mossad Yossi Cohen, and is considered a key figure in relations between the two sides: “Which makes the cancellation of the invitation a very important event.”

The newspaper revealed that the revocation of the visit came after Netanyahu boasted about his meeting with Bin Salman in Saudi Arabia, just days before the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh on 27 November.

The newspaper quoted Israeli sources claiming that the cancellation of the Israeli official’s invitation was motivated by Saudi Arabia’s dissatisfaction with Israel’s performance, according to Arab48.

The newspaper stressed that this is not the first time that Netanyahu has divulged covert meetings and events. In recent years, he has gradually broken the secrecy protocol, which has been serving Israel for many years in holding secret foreign relations and dealing with the most sensitive security matters.

Mossad chief: Israel, Saudi Arabia maintain unofficial peace relations 

Several days ago, The Economist reported a sense of satisfaction in both Riyadh and Tel Aviv after the Hebrew media leaked news about a tripartite meeting that was held furtively in the kingdom between Bin Salman, Netanyahu and Pompeo.

Hebrew newspaper Haaretz quoted an informed source disclosing that Cohen had also participated in the meeting.

The Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation (Kan) indicated that Netanyahu and Cohen departed on a private plane from Ben Gurion airport, near Tel Aviv, to Neom in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal Bin Farhan denied news about the crown prince’s meeting with Israeli officials during Pompeo’s recent visit to the kingdom, stressing that only US and Saudi officials were present at the time.

Middle East Monitor

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