Reports surfaced Wednesday morning that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman secretly met with Israeli officials during a visit to Egypt this week.
Reports first surfaced in Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, reports later claiming the meeting was centered on the peace process, Iran and combatting radical Islam in the region.
It is the second secret meeting reported between the prince and Israeli officials. In November of last year, the prince was reported to have met with Israeli officials in Israel, the meeting centered on Arab initiatives to resume the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, as well as Iran.
It was just one of several reports over the last few months of increased cooperation between Israel and Saudi Arabia. In January, a Swiss newspaper claimed increased secret military cooperation between both countries. It reported that Saudi Arabia is not only cooperating with Israel on regional developments, mainly involving Iran, but also considering purchasing defense systems, such as the Iron Dome and tanks “which Israel claims has proven to be effective in countering rocket attacks from Gaza Strip.”
It also claimed that Israel and Saudi Arabia’s “intensive secret cooperation” is in order to “achieve the main goal of curbing Iran’s expansion project and undermining its regional ambitions”, claiming that cooperation between both countries is “very advanced”.
Saudi Arabia continues to deny any cooperation with Israel.
Prince Mohammed bin Salman was in Egypt to meet with President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, Egypt and Saudi Arabia agreeing to a $10 billion deal to develop the “Neom megacity”. The project will cover 25,000 square kilometers, Egypt leasing 1,000 square kilometers of southern Sinai to the project.
Saudi Arabia claims Neom to be a “strategic location on one of the worlds most prominent economic arteries [that] will make Neom a global hub for trade, innovation and knowledge. Neom will operate as an independent economic zone with its own laws, taxes and regulations specially created to boost healthy growth and wealth for the region, investors and residents.”
This article originally appeared on Behold Israel, March 7, 2018, and reposted with permission.