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Friday, September 22, 2006

Secret contacts between Israel, Saudi Arabia

JERUSALEM (AFP) - Israel and Saudi Arabia have been conducting secret negotiations, the top-selling Hebrew daily reported on its front page.

"Secret negotiations between Israel and Saudi Arabia," headlined Yediot Aharonot, reporting that contacts had begun during the recent 34-day war in Lebanon between Israel and Shiite militant group Hezbollah.

Asked whether there were secret talks going on with Saudi Arabia, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was quoted as saying: "I don't have to answer every question".

Olmert was quoted as saying, however, he was "very impressed with various acts and statements connected with Saudi Arabia, both those that were made publicly and others as well.

"I am very impressed with King Abdullah's insight and sense of responsibility," he added, when asked about whether he regarded a Saudi peace initiative favourably.

In March 2002, the Arab League adopted the Saudi proposal that would see the Arab world normalise relations with Israel in exchange for a withdrawal from all land occupied since 1967 and a negotiated solution to the Palestinian refugee issue.
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