A London-based Arabic daily reported Wednesday that the Saudi Crown Prince discussed normalizing Israeli-Saudi ties and President Trump’s planned “deal of the century” with Israeli officials in Egypt.
• The Saudis reportedly also invited Israel to join in the unprecedented ‘mega-city venture’ in the Gulf of Aqaba.
By Israel Hayom Staff
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met with senior Israeli officials during his visit to Egypt this week, the London-based Arab newspaper Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported on Wednesday.
The report said the meeting focused on the normalization of ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia, and included Saudi Arabia’s commitment to the “deal of the century,” the Middle East peace plan being devised by U.S. President Donald Trump and his administration.
Within that framework, Israel would take part in the unprecedented real estate venture being sponsored by the Saudis in the Gulf of Aqaba. Crown Prince Mohammed first announced plans for the 26,500-square-kilometer (10,230-square-mile) zone at an international investment conference in Riyadh last October.
Officials say public and private investment in the area is expected to reach $500 billion. The mega-city would be built on Saudi territory on the eastern shore of the Red Sea near the border with Jordan , and connect to Egypt across the gulf via a bridge running through the island of Tiran.
Known as Neom – from the Greek prefix “neo” (new) and the first letter of the Arabic word “mostaqbal” (future) – the mega-city is being billed as “the world’s most ambitious project” and is intended to become a transnational city and economic zone. The crown prince’s stated objective for the project is to wean Saudi Arabia, the world’s top crude exporter, off oil revenues.
The source who leaked the information about the prince’s meeting with the Israelis said that in light of the shared sea border between Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and Israel, it is necessary to establish an international framework to include Israel in the Saudi project.
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According to the report, the prince, who is currently in the U.K., is also applying immense pressure behind the scenes on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to be part of the American “deal of the century.”
If an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal is struck, the Saudis will reportedly be the beneficiaries of considerable American investments, among other things in the Neom project. In exchange, they will act as the Americans’ spearhead for implementing the peace agreement.
The prince is also scheduled to visit the United States, Saudi Arabia’s closest Western ally, later this month.
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