Photo: Niv Kalderon
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
Photo: Niv Kalderon
Saudi King Abdullah
Photo: AP

Report: Olmert to discuss peace bid with Saudis

Britain's Sunday Times reports PM set to meet senior Saudi officials, discuss possibility for peace talks between Israel, seven Arab countries based on Saudi peace initiative

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is set to meet soon with high-ranking Saudi officials and explore the possibility for negotiations between Israel and a group of moderate Arab countries over the future of the Middle East, and based on the Saudi peace initiative, British newspaper The Sunday Times reported.


According to the report, which quotes a senior Israeli source, a preliminary meeting between Olmert and a leading Saudi representative took place in Amman at the end of September, and focused on the Saudi offer.


The Israeli official claimed that the Saudi envoy was Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the former ambassador to Washington and one of King Abdullah's closest aides.


The Saudi peace initiative calls for an Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 borders, in exchange for peace agreements and normalization with the Arab countries.


According to the Times, Olmert was presented with the Saudi plan, which includes the establishment of a Palestinian state, followed by a formal peace deal between Israel and seven Arab countries: Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, the Emirates, Morocco and Tunisia.


'US pressured Olmert'

“The truth is that it was not Olmert’s own initiative but a dictate given to him last month when he met George W. Bush and Condoleezza Rice in Washington," an Israeli source explained to the Times.


An Arab source said: “The Saudis wanted to see Olmert commit publicly to what he promised Prince Bandar at the secret meeting in Amman.”


About two months ago, the prime minister denied in an interview with Ynet reports he had met with a Saudi official, perhaps even King Abdullah himself.


"I did not meet with the Saudi king, or any other official who should cause a sensation," Olmert claimed then.


פרסום ראשון: 12.03.06, 07:48
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