Saudi Arabia's Prince Faisal discusses global peace efforts with Blinken

Sudan, Yemen and Ukraine were at the top of agenda when the two officials met

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.  AFP
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Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan early on Friday discussed regional crises such as Sudan and Yemen with his US counterpart Antony Blinken, according a statement by the State Department.

"Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke today with the Foreign Minister of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Prince Faisal bin Farhan, to discuss a range of bilateral and regional issues," State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said.

Riyadh and Washington have in recent years worked together to de-escalate tensions in the region. The two sides have been looking for a solution to the crisis in Sudan that erupted earlier this year and has already displaced several million people.

They have offered Sudan's warring sides a chance to hold discussions in Jeddah, although to date the rival generals in Sudan have yet to agree to talks.

The war between two forces led by rival generals – Army chief Gen Abdel Fattah Al Burhan and RSF commander Gen Mohamed Dagalo – is now in its fifth month. Sudan has been rocked by violence since April 15, when tensions escalated into open fighting.

"The Secretary and Foreign Minister resolved to continue to work together to end the devastating conflict in Sudan," Mr Miller said.

On the war in Yemen, the top officials "also committed to redouble efforts to secure a lasting peace in Yemen through a UN-mediated Yemeni-Yemeni peace process", Mr Miller said.

There has been a lull of more than a year in the fighting between Iran-backed rebels and Yemen's internationally recognised government, but the UN and international community have struggled to bring both sides to the negotiating table.

Riyadh has also emerged on the global stage, seeking to mediate between Moscow and Kyiv in the Ukraine war.

Earlier this month, the kingdom held a multinational meeting in the port city of Jeddah in the presence of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who presented a peace plan to end the war in his country.

The talks are aimed at persuading countries from the Global South to back Kyiv’s proposals for ending the conflict.

"Secretary Blinken thanked Saudi Arabia for bringing together over 40 countries in Jeddah earlier this month to discuss the principles of a just and lasting peace in Ukraine," Mr Miller said.

"Secretary Blinken also praised Saudi Arabia’s role in convening discussions in Jeddah involving over 40 nations on the Ukraine issue."

The phone call between Mr Blinken and Prince Faisal follows a visit by Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian to Riyadh on Thursday – his first trip to Saudi Arabia since the countries resumed relations earlier this year.

Mr Blinken also spoke to Israel's Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer about easing tensions between Israel and Palestine and the US’s commitment to a two-state solution.

Updated: August 18, 2023, 6:37 AM