Blinken meets Saudi counterpart in Riyadh to discuss Gaza crisis

The US official is currently on a regional tour in the hope of stopping the conflict between Israel and Hamas

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Reuters
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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan in Riyadh on Saturday to discuss the military escalation in Gaza.

Mr Blinken is on a regional tour in the hope of stopping the conflict from becoming a devastating war in countries such as Lebanon and Syria.

He had just completed a visit to Israel, Jordan, Qatar and Bahrain before stopping off in Saudi Arabia late on Friday.

He is expected to land in the UAE later on Saturday.

“We are working with Saudi Arabia on many issues, including bringing peace to the region, and ensuring the protection of civilians in Gaza,” Mr Blinken said following the meeting with Prince Faisal.

He highlighted efforts to establish “safe areas” in Gaza as well as “a corridor so that humanitarian assistance can reach people who need it”.

“None of us want to see suffering by civilians on any side, whether it's in Israel, whether it's in Gaza, whether it's anywhere else, and we're working together to do our best to protect them,” he said.

Prince Faisal called for a ceasefire and addressed the humanitarian crisis.

“It's a disturbing situation. It's a very difficult situation. And, you know, the primary sufferer of this situation are civilians and civilian populations on both sides are being affected,” he said.

Prince Faisal said the “priority now needs to be to stop further civilian suffering, and here we need to find a way to quickly de-escalate the situation to quickly bring back peace, at least stopping the guns, and then working towards addressing also the humanitarian challenges.”

He said the kingdom “denounces the targeting of civilians in any form by any side”.

Last Saturday, Hamas launched a large-scale attack on Israel which killed 1,300 people, sparking a retaliatory bombing campaign that has killed at least 2,270 in the Gaza Strip ahead of a possible Israeli ground invasion of the territory.

Updated: October 14, 2023, 2:05 PM