Iran’s Raisi expected to attend emergency OIC summit in Riyadh

Saudi Foreign Ministry source says Iran is on list of those invited to attend talks on Sunday

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has been invited to the OIC summit. AFP
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Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi is to travel to Saudi Arabia on Sunday to attend an emergency summit on Gaza.

His arrival will mark the first visit by an Iranian head of state to Saudi Arabia since Tehran and Riyadh ended years of hostility under a China-brokered deal in March.

The Etemadonline website reported Mr Raisi is expected to travel to the kingdom for the talks.

“President Raisi will attend the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation [OIC] summit in Riyadh, where the issue of Palestine will be discussed,” the Iranian website reported.

A source from the Saudi Foreign Ministry did not confirm to The National whether Mr Raisi would attend, but said Iran was on the list of nations invited to Sunday’s emergency meeting.

Iran and Saudi Arabia have officially resumed ties and, naturally, Iran will be invited to attend the emergency OIC meeting on Sunday. Ebrahim Raisi is the head of state for Iran so, of course, an invite will be sent to his office to attend on Sunday,” the source told The National.

Tehran and Riyadh agreed to resume ties in March under a deal negotiated by China after seven years of tensions.

The OIC announced that an emergency summit will discuss the Israel-Gaza war, as the bombing of the enclave enters its 31st day.

World and regional powers have failed to reach an agreement on how to deal with the escalating conflict in the four weeks since Hamas militants stormed southern Israel on October 7, killing about 1,400 Israelis, mainly civilians, and taking about 240 people hostage.

Israel has since struck Hamas-controlled Gaza from the air, imposed a siege and launched a ground assault on the enclave. More than 10,000 Palestinians, including 4,104 children, have been killed so far in strikes on Gaza since October 7, the enclave's Health Ministry has said.

On October 18, the OIC held a meeting at the level of foreign ministers regarding the conflict and called for an immediate ceasefire.

On October 30, Hossam Zaki, Assistant Secretary General of the Arab League, confirmed the group received an official request from Palestine and Saudi Arabia to hold an Arab summit on November 11, to discuss “the ongoing Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip”.

“There will be an Arab-African summit that coincides with the date of November 11, and it was scheduled several months in advance,” Mr Zaki said, adding that it was “an appropriate opportunity for the Arabs to sit in an exceptional summit”.

Updated: November 07, 2023, 8:29 AM