Saudi foreign minister denies reports of Gulf-Israeli defense alliance talks

Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah Al Saud. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

During Biden’s visit to the kingdom, the U.S. president and Saudi Arabia agree on the importance of preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

 Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister denied on Saturday previous reports that his country has been involved in discussions on setting up a Gulf-Israeli defense alliance.

Furthermore, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud also told reporters, after a U.S.-Arab summit, “that Riyadh’s decision to open its airspace to all air carriers [including Israeli airliners] had nothing to do with establishing diplomatic ties with Israel and was not a precursor to further steps,” according to Reuters.

Meanwhile, during a visit by U.S. President Joe Biden to Saudi Arabia on Friday and Saturday, the two countries agreed on the importance of stopping Iran from “acquiring a nuclear weapon,” a report by the Saudi state news agency (SPA) stated.

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Biden took part in a meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council in Jeddah. Before that, he met Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman at Al Salman Palace in the coastal city.

According to a report on Saturday by CNN, Bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, hit back at Biden after the U.S. President raised the 2018 murder of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

“In the meeting, Bin Salman, also known as MBS, denied responsibility for the killing of Khashoggi at the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate. Biden said he indicated that he disagreed with MBS, based on U.S. intelligence assessments,” the report stated.

In response, the Saudi prince cited the abuse of prisoners by U.S. forces in Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison, as well as the death in Jenin in May of Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, the report continued, citing Foreign Minister Bin Farhan.

“The Crown Prince responded to President Biden’s remarks on … Khashoggi after quite clearly—that this crime, while very unfortunate and abhorrent, is something that the kingdom took very seriously [and] acted upon in a way commensurate with its position as a responsible country,” said Bin Farhan, according to the report.


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