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  • Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem October 28, 2018.

    Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem October 28, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Published 2 November 2018

"The larger problem is Iran and we have to make sure that Iran does not continue the malign activities," said the Israeli Prime Minister.

The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi was an “horrendous” crime that should be dealt with, but urged the international community to go easy on the Saudi government because the real problem is Iran.

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“I think that a way must be found to achieve both goals. Because the larger problem I believe is Iran, and we have to make sure that Iran does not continue the malign activities that it has engaged in over the last few weeks in Europe,” said Netanyahu on Friday during an official visit Varna, Bulgaria.

The Israeli leader told representatives of several Balkan countries that despite the murder of Khashoggi, it’s “very important for the stability of the region and the world that Saudi Arabia remain stable.”

The comments come shortly after The Washington Post reported that Netanyahu asked Trump’s administration to maintain normal relations with the kingdom because of its key role in the de facto alliance against Iran and its influence in the region.

And Netanyahu’s cry was heard in Washington. The Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Friday the U.S. will impose sanctions "far tougher than have ever been imposed on the Islamic Republic of Iran” on Monday as part of “ the government's total effort to change the behavior of the Ayatollah Khamenei.”

Pompeo didn’t mention anything regarding sanctions on the Saudi kingdom in order to change their behavior.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dancila and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pose for a picture following a press conference in Varna, Bulgaria, November 2, 2018. Photo | Reuters

Netanyahu’s invitation for the Craiova Forum is related to the interest of European countries in Israel’s natural gas reserves and the the EastMed Pipeline Project, with a capacity to carry up to 20 billion cubic meters of gas every year to Europe.

This is the first time a representative from a country other than Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia and Greece is invited to the Forum.

In exchange, the Balkan countries offered Israel support at the European Union and the United Nations.

The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared that prosecutors have enough information to conclude that the order to kill the journalist came from the “highest levels” of the Saudi government while Yasin Aktay, a senior advisor of Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP), said he had been dismembered and dissolved in acid to leave no trace of the body.

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