Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi, left, shakes hands with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. It was Raisi’s first time meeting a powerful Saudi prince.
President of Iran Ibrahim Raisi He is attending a key summit on the Israel-Hamas war in the Saudi capital Riyadh, where Arab leaders have urged an end to the conflict.
It was the first visit by an Iranian leader to Saudi Arabia in 11 years since the two countries restored diplomatic ties in March.
He shook hands with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman (MBS)Heir to the Saudi throne and de facto ruler of the country.
Speaking at the summit, Raisi said all participants had gathered there on behalf of the Islamic world to “save the Palestinians”.
“We are gathered here today to discuss the focus of the Islamic world, which is on the Palestinian cause, where we have witnessed the worst crimes in history … Today is a historic day in the heroic defense and support of Al-Aqsa Mosque.” he added.
The story of Gaza is a “struggle between two axes,” Raisi said, and the world must decide which side it is on, “the side of aristocracy or the side of destroying human generations.”
The Iranian president criticized the US for supporting the Israeli offensive, saying Washington was “a major partner in these crimes”.
In his opening remarks, MBS said the kingdom “categorically rejects” the war the Palestinians are being subjected to.
“This summit is being held in exceptional and painful circumstances,” he said.
“We categorically reject this brutal war being waged by our brothers and sisters in Palestine… We renew our demand for an immediate cessation of military operations.”
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said the United States “must take responsibility for the lack of a political solution” because it wields too much influence over Israel.
It is noteworthy that Raisi attended the summit amid speculation that Hezbollah — the Iran-backed Islamic Movement — one of the most powerful paramilitary forces in the Middle East — could become A wild card player at war and sparking a wider regional conflict.
Hezbollah has increasingly allied itself with Hamas since the end of the Syrian war. Leaders of Hamas have met with Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah several times in the past year, and the Gaza-based group’s deep ties to Iran are widely known.
Since the outbreak of Israel’s war with Hamas, Hezbollah’s political stance has unquestioningly supported Palestinian militants. It has sponsored rallies in support of Palestinian groups and roundly condemned Israel’s large-scale airstrikes on Gaza.
A significant number of Arab leaders are attending an emergency meeting on Saturday titled the Arab-Islamic Extraordinary Summit.
Saudi Arabia is hosting the summit in response to the unprecedented situation in Gaza. Report The Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued
The meeting was designed to discuss ways to end the “Israeli occupation of Gaza,” a statement from the Arab League ahead of the summit said.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has arrived at the summit, a further sign of Syria’s rehabilitation among Arab nations, following his participation in a regional meeting in May.