- The Washington Times - Friday, July 2, 2010

Saudi Arabia denied reports Friday that King Abdullah had said in private that “two states in the region do not deserve to exist: Israel and Iran.”

“This is untrue altogether,” a Saudi official told the government-controlled Saudi Press Agency.

Georges Malbrunot, a journalist with the French daily Le Figaro, claims the comment was made in a June 5 meeting in Riyadh between the king and French Defense Minister Herve Morin.

Last month, Saudi Arabia also denied a report by the Times of London that the kingdom was making preparations to allow Israel use of its airspace for a strike on Iranian nuclear facilities.

King Abdullah met Tuesday with President Obama in an effort to present a united front on Iran’s nuclear program and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Saudi Arabia does not have formal diplomatic relations with Israel. In 2002 then-Crown Prince Abdullah spearheaded an initiative unanimously endorsed by the 22-member Arab League that promised Israel an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict in return for a “complete withdrawal” from all territories seized in the 1967 Six-Day War and a “just settlement” to the Palestinian refugee issue.

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