Qatari, Egyptian, Saudi FMs discuss Gaza crisis with top US envoy

US Secretary of State Blinken had separate phone calls with foreign ministers of the three Middle East countries.

Blinken held calls with his Middle Eastern counterparts [File: Martin Bertrand/Bloomberg]

The foreign ministers of Qatar, Egypt and Saudi Arabia have discussed the deadly Israeli air attacks on Gaza and Israel-Palestine tensions with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Blinken and Qatar’s Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani discussed “efforts to restore calm in Israel and the [occupied] West Bank and Gaza in light of the tragic loss of civilian life”, the state department said on Monday.

The Qatari Ministry of Foreign said in a statement that the two officials discussed “the recent Israeli attacks on worshippers at the Al Aqsa Compound and the attack on the besieged Gaza Strip.”

Al Thani stressed the “need for urgent action by the international community to stop the repeated brutal Israeli attacks against civilians in Gaza and the blessed Al Aqsa Mosque,” it added.

Meanwhile, a growing group of US senators on Sunday called for a ceasefire. Democratic Senator Chris Murphy and Republican Todd Young, the senior members of a foreign relations panel, said in a statement: “As a result of Hamas’ rocket attacks and Israel’s response, both sides must recognise that too many lives have been lost and must not escalate the conflict further.”

Twenty-five other Democratic US senators and two independents issued a separate, similar statement urging an immediate ceasefire.

In his call with Egypt’s Sameh Shoukry, Blinken “reiterated his call on all parties to de-escalate tensions and bring a halt to the violence, which has claimed the lives of Israeli and Palestinian civilians, including children”, the State Department said in another statement.

Saudi state news agency SPA reported on Sunday that Blinken also had a phone call with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud to discuss the latest developments “in Palestine and in the region”.

The state department said the two discussed “the ongoing efforts to calm tensions in Israel and the West Bank and Gaza and bring the current violence to an end”.

Addressing an emergency virtual meeting of the 57-member Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Sunday, Al Saud condemned Israel’s “flagrant violations” of Palestinian rights and called on the international community to act urgently to put an end to deadly attacks on the Gaza Strip.

Qatar’s Al Thani also held a phone call on Sunday with his Egyptian counterpart, in which they reviewed “bilateral cooperation relations and developments in Palestine”, the Qatari foreign ministry said in a separate statement.

The Egyptian foreign ministry said in a statement that the two ministers agreed on “the importance of working to reach an immediate ceasefire between the two sides, and they also agreed to continue coordination in the bilateral framework, as well as in regional and international ones, regarding what is in the interest of the Palestinian people and reaching a ceasefire.”

The truce efforts by Egypt, Qatar and the United Nations have so far offered no sign of progress.

Source: News Agencies