White House’s Sullivan met Saudi crown prince, then to Israel


Washington (Reuters) – White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday to discuss the Gaza conflict and other regional issues, two U.S. officials said.

Sullivan, who is to visit Israel on Thursday and Friday, discussed with the Saudis “broader diplomatic efforts to maintain stability across the region and prevent the Israel-Hamas conflict from expanding,” one official said.

U.S. negotiations aimed at reaching a deal normalizing relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia were halted by the Hamas militants’ attack on Oct. 7 on southern Israel in which 1,200 people were killed.

But all sides have said they want to keep the resurrect the effort when the time is right.

Sullivan will travel to Israel on Thursday and hold talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and members of the Israeli war cabinet on Thursday and Friday.

The U.S. officials said Sullivan would also discuss with the Saudis efforts to deter ongoing Houthi attacks against international commercial vessels in the Red Sea.

He will also build upon the work that was under way between Saudi Arabia and the United States over recent months to create what the officials described as a sustainable peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

White House national security spokesperson John Kirby told reporters that Sullivan would discuss with the Israelis the need for them to be more surgical and precise with their strikes against Hamas targets in Gaza.

Gaza’s health ministry estimates that more than 18,000 people in Gaza have been killed.

U.S. President Joe Biden said on Tuesday that Israel is losing support over its “indiscriminate” bombing of Gaza and that Netanyahu should change, exposing a new rift in relations with the Israeli prime minister.

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