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Source: Reuters

Oct 12, 2023

Iran president, Saudi crown prince speak for first time since ties restored

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman discussed the Palestinian-Israeli conflict on Wednesday, in the first telephone call between the two leaders since a China-brokered deal between Tehran and Riyadh to resume ties.

The two leaders' call came as Israel carried out air strikes in the Gaza Strip in retaliation for a deadly attack by Palestinian Hamas militants in Israel.

Raisi and the Saudi crown prince discussed the "need to end war crimes against Palestine," Iranian state media said.

The Saudi crown prince, for his part, "affirmed that the Kingdom is making all possible efforts in communicating with all international and regional parties to stop the ongoing escalation," Saudi state news agency SPA said.

He also reiterated Saudi Arabia's rejection of targeting civilians in any way, SPA added.

Saudi Arabia and Iran agreed to resume ties in March under a deal negotiated by China after seven years of hostility, which had threatened stability and security in the Gulf and helped fuel conflicts in the Middle East, from Yemen to Syria.

Asked about Raisi's call with the crown prince, a senior U.S. State Department official said Washington, which staunchly backs Israel in its fight against Hamas, was in "constant contact with Saudi leaders".

The official added that the U.S. was asking its partners with channels or relations with Hamas, Lebanon's Hezbollah or Iran "to get Hamas to stand down from its attacks, to release hostages, keep Hezbollah out (and) keep Iran out of the fray."

Reporting By Dubai newsroom Editing by Chris Reese, Diane Craft and Lincoln Feast.

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