Saudi prince, Iran president hold call on Israel-Hamas war

AFP , Thursday 12 Oct 2023

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince and Iran's president spoke by phone about the war between Israel and Hamas, Saudi state media said early Thursday, their first call since a surprise rapprochement in March.

Saudi prince, Iran president


Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received a call on Wednesday from the Iranian leader, Ebrahim Raisi, during which they discussed "the current military situation in Gaza and its environs", the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said.

Prince Mohammed told Raisi that Riyadh is "communicating with all international and regional parties to stop the ongoing escalation", SPA said.

He also stressed "the kingdom's firm position towards supporting the Palestinian cause", it said.

Iranian state news agency IRNA also reported on the call, saying the two men discussed the "need to end war crimes against Palestine".

Hamas launched an attack on Israel on Saturday that Israeli forces say killed 1,200 people.

In Gaza, officials have reported more than 1,200 people killed in Israel's retaliatory campaign of air and artillery strikes.

As war rages on, fears have mounted over the fate of at least 150 captives held in Gaza by Hamas.

Analysts say the war has dealt a heavy blow to a possible landmark peace deal between Saudi Arabia and Israel.

That process has been driven by US President Joe Biden's administration.

Iran has long financially and militarily backed Hamas but insists it had no involvement in Saturday's assault.

Saudi Arabia and Iran announced in March they had agreed to restore ties, ending a seven-year rupture in a deal brokered by China.

Prince Mohammed also spoke by phone on Wednesday with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, during which the 38-year-old said he was "exerting unremitting efforts through regional and international communication to achieve coordination that pushes for a halt of the current escalation".

He delivered a similar message in a separate call with French President Emmanuel Macron, saying Riyadh was "working to create conditions to bring stability and restore the path of peace to ensure that the Palestinian people would achieve their fair and legitimate rights", according to a foreign ministry readout published early Thursday on social media.

Prince Mohammed also told Macron the kingdom rejected "targeting civilians or disrupting the infrastructure and vital interests that affect their daily lives."

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