Antony Blinken meets Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman after draft UN ceasefire resolution
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Blinken meets Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman amid ceasefire negotiations

Blinken meets Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman amid ceasefire negotiations

The US Secretary of State is on his sixth visit to the region since the October 7 crisis broke out

Gulf Business
blinken in jeddah

The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Jeddah on March 20, reported state news agency SPA.

The meeting discussed “Developments in the Gaza Strip, and efforts made to stop military operations and deal with their security and humanitarian repercussions,” the SPA added.

Blinken landed in Jeddah earlier on Wednesday on the first leg of a regional tour that was extended to include Israel.

The two “reviewed bilateral relations and areas of joint cooperation, in addition to the latest regional and international developments.”

Blinken on draft ceasefire resolution for Gaza crisis

Blinken’s visit to the kingdom comes as the US released a draft UN Security Council ceasefire resolution to resolve the ongoing Israel-Gaza crisis.

The meeting was attended by Minister of Defense Prince Khalid bin Salman, Saudi Ambassador to the US Princess Reema bint Bandar, Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan along with senior officials from both countries.

As part of the pre-visit statement, the US State Department said that Blinken will discuss efforts to reach an immediate ceasefire agreement that secures the release of all remaining hostages, intensified international efforts to increase humanitarian assistance to Gaza, and coordination on post-conflict planning for Gaza.

Speaking to the press in Jeddah, Blinken reaffirmed the US’ backing for an immediate ceasefire to the ongoing hostilities. The US Secretary of State said, “We’re pressing for an immediate ceasefire tied to the release of hostages. That would bring immediate relief to so many people who are suffering in Gaza – the children, the women, the men.”

“It would allow a much greater expansion of humanitarian assistance getting to them, and it could create the conditions to have a lasting, enduring ceasefire, which is also what we want to see. So that’s the urgency in this moment. That’s what we’re pressing, with Qatar and Egypt working closely with us to try to get an agreement.”

He also spoke about a post crisis scenario, to set up “a political path for the Palestinian people with security assurances with Israel, and an architecture for lasting peace and security in the region.”

Blinken is scheduled to travel to Egypt and Israel to “update Israeli leaders on his talks with Arab leaders to build lasting peace and security for Israelis, Palestinians, and the broader region.”

Tensions in the Red Sea

On his agenda was also the tensions in the Red Sea with continuing operations by the US Central Command (CENTCOM). The State Department statement read, “the imperative of ending Houthi attacks on commercial ships and restoring stability and security to the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.”

Attacks in the Red Sea have led to multiple casualties of shipping crews as well as sunk one commercial ship. The shipping lane is one of the most critical waterways in the world, with an estimated 30 per cent of global shipping passing through it.

The Houthi attacks have led shipping firms to re-route their vessels, along a longer path from Asia to Europe, through the Cape of Good Hope.

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