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Antony Blinken meets Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman on Mideast crisis tour

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Reuters File

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, on a disaster tour of the Center East, met Sunday with the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, which has placed on maintain normalisation with Israel.

The highest US diplomat started assembly Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at his palace in Riyadh simply after 7:30 am (0430 GMT), a US official mentioned.

Blinken has been touring the area since Hamas fighters infiltrated Israel on 7 October and killed 1,300 folks, sparking an enormous retaliatory marketing campaign concentrating on the Islamist group within the Gaza Strip that has killed greater than 2,200 folks.

Earlier than the violence, the Saudi crown prince, identified by his initials MBS, had spoken of progress in US-led diplomacy to normalise relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Saudi Arabia has put the method on maintain after the violence, with some suspecting that Hamas wished to cease normalisation for worry it could additional weaken the Palestinian trigger.

Saudi Arabia is the guardian of Islam’s two holiest websites, making recognition a historic coup for Israel, which in 2020 normalised relations with three different Arab states.

As a part of a package deal, Saudi Arabia – which like Israel has tense relations with Iran’s Shiite clerical state – has been in search of safety ensures from america, its longtime associate and shopper of its oil.

However MBS is deeply controversial in america, the place intelligence linked him to the 2018 killing and dismemberment of Jamal Khashoggi, a US-based Saudi journalist.

President Joe Biden – who as soon as vowed to make the dominion a pariah – drew protests at house after a go to to Saudi Arabia final yr when he shared a pleasant fist-bump with MBS.



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