Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has canceled a visit to the US next week to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu amid fears that news of the trip had been leaked, according to a media report.
US President Donald Trump and senior White House adviser Jared Kushner planned the meeting to be an opportunity to reintroduce Salman’s image as a peacemaker and to win regional support for the controversial US-brokered normalization deal between the United Arab Emirates and Israel, the London-based Middle East Eye website reported on Tuesday.
The meeting taking place may have suggested that Saudi Arabia could take similar steps to normalize its relations with Israel.
The crown prince was expected to arrive in Washington DC on Aug. 31 but the visit was called off on Saturday when he learned that news of the visit had been leaked, said the website.
Salman apparently wanted the visit to be secret so that his many opponents in the country would have no time to plan against him.
Earlier this month, the UAE and Israel announced a controversial US-brokered agreement to normalize relations, including opening embassies in each other’s territory.
Following Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994, the UAE will be the third Arab country to sign a peace agreement with Israel.
Palestinian groups have denounced the UAE-Israel deal, saying it ignores the rights of Palestinians and does nothing to serve the Palestinian cause.
Saudi Arabia on Wednesday spoke positively of the deal.
Visiting Germany, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, the Saudi foreign minister, described the normalization deal as a potential contribution to peace in the region.
It was Riyadh’s first official reaction to the deal.
Despite his positive comments, Prince Faisal did not signal the kingdom’s readiness to take a similar step to normalize relations with Israel.
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