The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday (June 26) citing officials from the US and the region, that last Mrch, a secret meeting of top military officials from Israel and Arab countries was convened by the United States.
The meeting, which remained previously undisclosed, was apparently held to explore ways to coordinate against Iran’s growing missile and drone capabilities.
The talks were held at Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. As per the report, the meeting included participants from Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Jordan.
It is the first time that such a range of ranking Israeli and Arab officers have met under US military officials as they discussed how to defend against a common threat.
The WSJ report mentioned that the US was represented by the then-head of the US Central Command General Frank McKenzie.
According to sources familiar with the talks, participants reached an agreement on procedures for rapid notification when aerial threats are detected.
The sources added that the alerts would be passed by phone or computer and not through a US-style military data sharing system.
Col. Joe Buccino, a Central Command spokesman of US said in a statement that the command “maintains a firm commitment to increasing regional cooperation and developing integrated air and missile defense architecture to protect our force and our regional partners.”
He added tha Iran “is the primary destabilizing factor across the Middle East.” Although he didn’t acknowledge the Sharm El Sheikh meeting.
Notably, US President Joe Biden is planning to visit Israel and Saudi Arabia in mid-July. No details have emerged but a National Security Council spokeswoman said the White House supported “broadening and deepening Arab-Israeli ties.”