Washington, Asharq Al-Awsat – The US State Department has denied that any meetings took place between the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz and the Israeli President Shimon Peres.
Asharq Al-Awsat contacted the US State Department to comment on the statement issued by an official Saudi source that denied news reports that the Saudi King had spoken with the Israeli President on the sidelines of the Interfaith Dialogue Conference as claimed by US Under Secretary for Political Affairs William Burns.
Quoted by the Saudi Press Agency, the Saudi official stated that the comments were “absolutely baseless and made up.” The source demanded that the “State Department retract the news and offer an explanation and clarification of the reasons behind this falsehood that does not serve relations between the two friendly countries.”
Asharq Al-Awsat received the following statement from Acting Department Spokesman Robert Wood:
“The only thing I can tell you is that I know that at the Interfaith Dialogue Conference, there were a number of world leaders including King Abdullah and Israeli President Shimon Peres. Former President Bush was there, I believe, as well, and they participated in that session. I think they [King Abdullah and President Shimon Peres] both attended a dinner and a UN meeting, but my understanding is that no bilateral meeting took place.”