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Gaza ceasefire ‘not the main priority’ amongst international community, Saudi FM says

The Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal Bin Farhan said that they are seeing a position viewing ‘Ceasefire’ as a dirty word, expressing his disappointment with the US decision to veto the Security Council resolution for a ceasefire in Gaza. The FM affirmed they are going to keep pushing for a ceasefire. He added: ‘This continuing military operation and this continuing level of civilian casualties do not serve anybody's interests, including the interests of Israel or its security.’ On a different note, Bin Farhan confronted his interviewer, Nick Schifrin, with suggestions for his public and private diplomatic messaging not being the same, and emphasised the consistency in the Kingdom’s communications across all forums. He added that the same can not be said regarding other Western interlocutors that he didn’t name.

December 10, 2023 at 9:25 am

The bloodshed in Gaza by Israeli forces is not “the main priority” amongst the international community but must be focused on to achieve a ceasefire, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister has lamented.

At a joint press conference yesterday in the United States’ capital Washington, Saudi foreign minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan and a group of foreign ministers from the Arab-Islamic Ministerial Committee urged for the international community and policymakers to focus on stopping the fighting in the Gaza Strip immediately.

“Our message is consistent and clear that we believe that it is absolutely necessary to end the fighting immediately”, stated Saudi minister bin Farhan. “One of the disturbing facts of this conflict is that ending the conflict and the fighting doesn’t seem to be the main priority for the international community”. He expressed his hope that “our partners in the US will do more…we certainly believe they can do more”.

READ: US still hopes for Saudi-Israel normalisation deal despite fallout over Gaza war, says Energy envoy

The top Saudi diplomat also highlighted the urgent need for an increase in humanitarian aid to be delivered to civilians in Gaza, calling it “unacceptable” that the huge amount of aid waiting at the Egyptian border with Gaza continues to be restricted from entering the besieged territory as a result of “bureaucratic obstacles”.

His comments were joined and echoed by his counterparts, with Jordanian foreign minister Ayman Safadi stating that if the United Nations’ resolution for a ceasefire failed to be passed, then it would be giving a license to Israel “to continue with its massacre.”

He told the press conference that “Our priority for now is to stop the war, stop the killing, stop the destruction of Gaza’s infrastructure”. The current situation, Safadi stated, “is that Israel is acting above international law…and the world is simply not doing much. We disagree with the United States on its position vis-a-vis on the cease-fire”.

That press conference was held prior to the UN Security Council’s vote on the demand for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, which failed to pass after to the US’s vetoed the resolution.