Bad “Meet”: Saudi Arabia in dust up with the State Department

This could get interesting.

Saudi Arabia has demanded that the US retract a claim that King Abdullah met Israeli President Shimon Peres in 2008, in a rare rebuke towards its ally.

An unnamed Saudi official said the claim by US Under Secretary at the State Department, William Burns, was “completely false and fabricated”.

Mr Burns said this week King Abdullah and Mr Peres met at a UN interfaith conference in New York last November.

Saudi Arabia and Israel do not have diplomatic relations.

The unnamed Saudi official was quoted by Saudi Arabia’s state-run SPA news agency.

The official said that the US state department had to “deny the claim and provide clarification for the reasons behind such fabrication that does not serve the relations between the two friendly countries”. – BBC

The problem with that is, at the conference back in November, this was reported:

Israeli President Shimon Peres has praised the king of Saudi Arabia for his Middle East peace initiative.

At an interfaith meeting at the United Nations, Mr Peres told King Abdullah he hoped his would be the “prevailing voice of the whole region”.

When Mr Peres took to the floor, he broke off from his prepared speech to address King Abdullah directly.

“Your Majesty, the king of Saudi Arabia,” he said. “I was listening to your message. I wish that your voice will become the prevailing voice of the whole region, of all people. It’s right. It’s needed. It’s promising. BBC

I would suppose it depends what your definition of “met” is. In any case, the strength of the Saudi objection is pretty unseemly and aggressive. Whatever happened, I hope the administration sticks to whatever the truth is, and does not allow itself to be bullied. William Burns should have known better than to mention any meeting, as it is no secret that it is a very sore topic with Saudi Arabia, but now that it has been said, the new administration can not be seen to say that the sky is green just to placate their oil-dealers.

Considering Saudi Arabia is trying to promote it’s own peace plan for the region, this childish nonsense of refusing to talk to people, much as Bush refused to talk to Iran and Syria, needs to end.

4 comments to Bad “Meet”: Saudi Arabia in dust up with the State Department

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