The United States held a secret meeting in December on coordination against Iran, with representatives from the Zionist entity and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), officials told Axios news.
US and Israeli officials told the website on Tuesday that the meeting was a part of a series of steps taken towards forging closer ties between ‘Israel’, the UAE and other Arab states.
At the meeting, the three sides discussed the idea of a nonaggression pact between the Zionist entity and the UAE as an interim step on the way to diplomatic normalization.
A senior US official told Axios that they would welcome an expansion of the two countries’ relations, but would not comment further.
“We’re not going to detail private diplomatic conversations, nor do we have anything to announce,” the official said.
A key instigator in the establishment of the meeting was Jared Kushner, who was the architect behind the Trump administration’s so-called “Deal of the Century” plan for the Middle East.
Present at the meeting on Washington’s behalf were Robert O’Brien, Trump’s national security adviser, Victoria Coates, O’Brien’s deputy, and Brian Hook, the US special envoy for Iran.
On the Israeli side were Meir Ben-Shabbat, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s national security adviser.
And representing the UAE was Yousef al-Otaiba, the country’s ambassador to the US and close adviser to the UAE’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, according to Axios.
Israeli and US officials told the American news website that the secret meeting explained a tweet coming from the UAE foreign minister, Abdullah bin Zayed, on 21 December.
“Islam’s reformation, an Arab-Israeli alliance is taking shape in the Middle East,” bin Zayed tweeted at the time, referring to an article.
Netanyahu responded to the tweet saying that bin Zayed’s comment “is the result of the ripening of many contacts and efforts.”