WASHINGTON — Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal Bin Farhan stressed that he and OIC and Arab league countries conveyed a unified message on Gaza, both in public and private, calling out some Western interlocutors for diverging public and private statements.
In an exclusive interview with Nick Schifrin from PBS, Saudi foreign minister delivered a powerful message calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.
Expressing deep concern over the unprecedented level of carnage and civilian casualties, the minister emphasized the need to find a path out of the conflict.
“Our message is that too many civilians have already died on Oct. 7 and since. We have now seen a level of carnage in Gaza that is unjustifiable under any pretext of self-defense,” stated Prince Faisal.
He highlighted the urgency of addressing the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza, emphasizing the impact not only of Israeli bombs but also of diseases like cholera due to the breakdown of the sanitary system.
Prince Faisal stressed that the continuing military operation and civilian casualties do not serve anyone’s interests.
Addressing the humanitarian crisis, Prince Faisal noted the significant aid provided by Arab countries, but expressed concern that the aid is being obstructed and blocked from reaching Gaza.
He questioned the Israeli representative’s statement at the UN Security Council, asking, “What is a solution?”
The Saudi foreign minister acknowledged the anger and suffering of the Palestinian people, saying: “This is a failing of the entire international community.”
He warned that the images of civilian suffering jeopardize trust in the two-state solution and international systems, posing a risk of extremism and violence.
Expressing a commitment to peace, Prince Faisal reiterated Saudi Arabia’s strategic choice for peace. He emphasized the need to focus on ending the war, with peace bringing dignity and prosperity for Palestinians.
“We are focused on ending the war now, but we are also very, very interested in moving the cause of peace forward,” added Prince Faisal.
He conveyed a clear message from engagements with the US administration and Congress that peace is the answer, requiring a Palestinian element and a move towards a Palestinian state.
In discussing the situation in Gaza, Prince Faisal underscored the Arab world’s unified position, emphasizing the interconnectedness of Gaza and Palestine as a whole.
He emphasized the importance of a ceasefire to pave the way for discussions about the future.
“We are clear that escalation is in nobody’s interest. We hope that we can focus on ending the situation in Gaza and the conflict,” Prince Faisal said.
In conclusion, Prince Faisal emphasized the critical priority of ending the killing in Gaza, with a hopeful outlook towards achieving peace, dignity, and prosperity for the Palestinians in the region.
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