Saudi Foreign Minister, Blinken discuss Gaza situation, regional issues

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Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan held discussions with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington, DC to discuss the Israel-Hamas war, Arab News reported. The meeting involved a comprehensive review of bilateral relations between Saudi Arabia and the United States. “During the meeting, bilateral relations between the Kingdom and the United States were reviewed, and developments in the Gaza Strip and its surroundings were discussed, as well as regional issues of common interest,” according to a statement on SPA news agency, Arab News reported.

The officials discussed “all possible efforts to reduce the pace of escalation and ensure that the violence does not expand to avoid its dangerous repercussions on international peace and security,” the statement added. Prince Faisal emphasised the necessity of creating conditions conducive to stability and the restoration of the peace process. He stressed the importance of ensuring that the Palestinian people obtain their legitimate rights. Princess Reema bint Bandar, the Saudi Ambassador to the United States, was present at the meeting.

In addition to the diplomatic discussions, Prince Faisal also gave an interview on the American channel PBS. The interview covered the situation in Gaza, exploring potential paths forward from the violence, and highlighted Saudi Arabia’s role in the region, Arab News reported. The US on Friday (local time) vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution on Gaza calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. The resolution was put forward by the United Arab Emirates and backed by over 90 member states. Thirteen members of the UNSC voted in favour of the resolution, while the UK abstained from voting.

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The US Deputy Representative at the UN, Robert Wood, stressed that the resolution is “divorced from reality” and “would not have moved the needle forward on the ground.” “Unfortunately, nearly all of our recommendations were ignored. And the result of this rushed process was an imbalanced resolution that was divorced from reality and that would not move the needle forward on the ground in any concrete way. And so, we regretfully could not support it,” he said. At least 17,487 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since October 7. In Israel, the revised official death toll stands at about 1,147, Al Jazeera reported.