In Washington, Saudi defense minister stresses need for ‘immediate’ ceasefire in Gaza|Arab News Japan

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman stressed the need for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza during a meeting with a senior US official on Monday.

The call comes as the humanitarian situation in the Palestinian enclave deteriorates as Israel conducts a large military campaign against Hamas.

Meeting Jake Sullivan, the US national security advisor, Prince Khalid reaffirmed the Kingdom’s call to bring the fighting to a halt.

“I stressed the need for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, protection of civilians, allowing humanitarian aid, and resuming the peace process,” Prince Khalid wrote on X after the meeting.

The pair affirmed “the urgent need to increase humanitarian assistance for the people of Gaza,” according to a readout issued by the White House, adding they emphasized the need to find a sustainable peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis, building on Saudi-US efforts over recent months.

The Israeli military began moving ground troops into Gaza over the weekend, supported by air cover, as calls for a halt to the fighting intensify. Tel Aviv has vowed to destroy Hamas after the group waged a multipronged attack inside Israel killing over 1,400, mostly civilians. Israel has spent weeks bombarding the heavily populated Gaza Strip leaving over 8,000 people, mostly civilians, dead.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Joe Biden shared a call on the situation in the Palestinian enclave in a call last week. The crown prince called on the US to work immediately to discuss ways to stop the Israeli military operations that have claimed innocent lives.

Prince Khalid and Sullivan also “affirmed the importance of deterring any state or non-state actor from seeking to expand the conflict.”

The Biden advisor welcomed Prince Khalid, who arrived in the US capital on Monday, and his accompanying delegation and discussed “ongoing efforts to strengthen the defense partnership between the United States and Saudi Arabia, which for decades has served as a cornerstone for regional stability and deterrence”.

On Yemen, Prince Khalid wrote: “We also discussed the Kingdom’s efforts in Yemen to end the crisis and achieve peace.” The White House said: “Mr. Sullivan welcomed the significant de-escalation of the conflict over the past year and a half and endorsed Saudi-led efforts to bring the war to a close altogether.”

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