Prime Minister Ehud Olmert made a secret visit to Jordan two weeks ago and apparently met with Saudi Arabia's National Security Adviser Prince Bandar.
The information comes from Israeli diplomatic sources reacting to yesterday's Yedioth Ahronoth report on Olmert's "secret meeting" with a senior member of the Saudi royal family, perhaps even King Abdullah himself.
In recent interviews, Olmert has praised Saudi Arabia's stance during the war in Lebanon and hinted at bilateral contacts.
"I did not meet with the Saudi king or anyone that should have caused a sensation," Olmert said yesterday in an interview on Yedioth's Web site, Ynet. The prime minister's aides refused to comment yesterday. "We know of no such meeting," they said.
Earlier in the day, however, Jerusalem officials said that Olmert had met with a senior Saudi official they declined to identify.
Olmert is thought to have traveled to Jordan on September 12 following the cabinet's approval of the 2007 state budget. Prince Bandar was in Jordan at the time.
Bandar was Saudi ambassador to the U.S. for several years and was an important behind-the-scenes figure in the Arab-Israeli peace process.
Prince Bandar's greatest period of influence was during the presidency of George H.W. Bush, on the eve of the Madrid peace talks.
Bandar was also a popular figure in Washington diplomatic circles for many years.