Netanyahu meets Omani FM, hints Arab states engaging with Israel

COMPILED FROM WIRE SERVICES
ISTANBUL
Published 13.02.2019 20:46
Updated 13.02.2019 20:47
This photo published by Israeli PM’s office shows Omani Foreign Minister Ben Alawi during his meeting with Netanyahu at the Intercontinental Hotel in Warsaw
This photo published by Israeli PM’s office shows Omani Foreign Minister Ben Alawi during his meeting with Netanyahu at the Intercontinental Hotel in Warsaw

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Oman's foreign minister on the sidelines of a U.S.-sponsored Middle East conference in Warsaw on Wednesday and hinted that other Arab countries represented there were engaging with Israel.

In a video released by Netanyahu's office, the Omani foreign minister, Yusuf bin Alawi, said people in the Middle East have "suffered a lot" because they stick to the past. He said Wednesday's meeting reflects a "new era" for the region.

Oman does not formally recognize Israel. Nor do Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates, which share Israel's concerns about Iranian actions in the region and also sent envoys to Warsaw.

Netanyahu paid a surprise visit to Oman in November, calling it a "courageous decision" by the country's sultan to invite him.

Netanyahu frequently boasts of warming behind-the-scenes contacts with Arab leaders, who very rarely appear in public with the Israeli prime minister.

Netanyahu said "many" are following Oman's lead, "and, may I say, including at this conference."

The United States hopes the Warsaw gathering will ratchet up pressure against Iran despite concerns among major European countries about heightened tensions with Tehran.

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