President Sheikh Mohamed renews calls for Israel-Gaza ceasefire

UAE leader underlined need to protect civilians during speech at the GCC-Asean Summit in Riyadh on Friday

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President Sheikh Mohamed on Friday renewed calls for an immediate ceasefire in the Israel-Gaza war during a joint summit of the Gulf Co-operation Council and the Association of South-East Asian Nations.

Sheikh Mohamed said the region was facing a “grave conflict”, the repercussions of which were worsening day after day, state news agency Wam reported.

In a speech at the GCC-Asean Summit in Riyadh, the Sheikh Mohamed emphasised the importance of opening humanitarian corridors to transport medical and relief aid to the Gaza Strip.

He underlined the need to preserve civilian lives during the conflict.

UAE President arrives in Riyadh for GCC-Asean summit

UAE President arrives in Riyadh for GCC-Asean summit

“Today, as we assemble, our region faces a grave conflict, and the toll and risks associated with it amplify daily, especially in humanitarian terms,” Sheikh Mohamed said.

The head of state offered condolences to the families of all victims of the war and wished a speedy recovery to the injured.

Sheikh Mohamed was earlier received by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at King Khalid International Airport in Saudi Arabia's capital, Wam reported.

The UAE leader heads a high-level delegation that includes Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed, Deputy Ruler of Abu Dhabi; Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs; Sheikh Nahyan Al Nahyan, UAE ambassador to Saudi Arabia; Dr Anwar Gargash, Diplomatic Adviser to the President; and Ali Al Shamsi, Secretary General of the Supreme Council for National Security.

The international gathering aims to strengthen ties between GCC nations and members of the South-East Asian body.

Sheikh Mohamed emphasised the significance of the event in a message on social media, in which he shared a group shot of himself with fellow leaders involved in the talks.

“At the GCC-Asean Summit in Riyadh, partners affirmed the enduring importance of international co-operation and integration,” Sheikh Mohamed wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

“I thank King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for convening this summit to strengthen ties with Asean nations.”

Sheikh Mohamed met Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on the sidelines of the summit at the King Abdulaziz International Conference Centre.

They discussed bilateral ties and explored ways to strengthen them.

They also spoke about the significance of the summit and how it will enhance co-operation between the two sides on various levels, including economic and investment.

The GCC comprises the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait.

The Asean group has 10 member states, including Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Singapore and the Philippines.

Updated: October 20, 2023, 1:57 PM