Cleverly visits Saudi Arabia for talks on Israel-Hamas crisis

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly will meet Middle East counterparts during his visit.

David Hughes
Thursday 09 November 2023 00:01 GMT
Foreign Secretary James Cleverly (Jonathan Brady/PA)
Foreign Secretary James Cleverly (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly has travelled to Saudi Arabia as diplomatic efforts continue to prevent the Middle East crisis spiralling into wider war.

He will hold high-level talks with regional counterparts in efforts to prevent escalation, and work towards a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine and push to get humanitarian aid into Gaza.

Mr Cleverly said: “I have been focused on diplomatic efforts to secure the release of hostages, to ensure that foreign nationals can leave Gaza, to deter any escalation regionally and to facilitate the flow of humanitarian aid at scale.

“I will continue this essential work in Saudi Arabia where I will meet with a number of my counterparts in the region to explore how we achieve those aims quickly and also look to the future of a lasting, peaceful, and prosperous two-state solution for both Israelis and Palestinians.”

There are concerns about the spread of violence beyond the Israel-Hamas conflict triggered by the October 7 massacre.

Mr Cleverly is expected to raise efforts to prevent wider regional escalation, including in Lebanon and Yemen, where Iranian-backed groups have targeted Israel.

He will also discuss initiatives to significantly increase aid flowing into Gaza, which has been cut off and bombarded by the Israeli military, leading to shortages of medicines, fuel and water.

Mr Cleverly will reaffirm the UK’s support for further humanitarian pauses in the fighting as soon as possible to deliver aid and provide a crucial window for hostages – including British nationals – to be released.

And he will also use his meetings to reiterate his condemnation in the rise of attacks involving Israeli settlers in the West Bank and to call for Israel to hold those responsible to account.

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