Saudi raises concern on economic fallout from Gaza war at global summit


Published: Sun 28 Apr 2024, 12:50 PM

Last updated: Sun 28 Apr 2024, 12:53 PM

Saudi Arabia expressed its concern on the economic effects of the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, calling for regional stability at the start of World Economic Forum (WEF), a summit in Riyadh attended by a host of Gaza mediators.


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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Palestinian leaders and high-ranking officials from other countries are present at the summit in an effort to broker a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

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The Gaza war along with conflicts in Ukraine and elsewhere put "a lot of pressure" on the economic "mood", Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan said at one of the first panel discussions of the two-day WEF special meeting.

"The region needs stability." Jadaan stated.

The war in Gaza has sent regional tensions at an all-time high.

The attack on southern Israel by Palestinian militant group Hamas on October 7 resulted in the deaths of about 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of Israeli official figures.

Israel estimates that 129 hostages seized by militants on October 7 are still being held in Gaza, including 34 the military says are dead.

Israel's retaliatory offensive has killed at least 34,388 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the health ministry.

WEF president Borge Brende told Saturday's press conference there was "some new momentum now in the talks around the hostages, and also for... a possible way out of the impasse we are faced with in Gaza".

However there will be no Israeli participation at the summit and Brende noted that formal mediation involving Qatar and Egypt was unfolding elsewhere.

"This is more an opportunity to have structured discussions" with "the key players", he said.

The US State Department said Blinken will "discuss ongoing efforts to achieve a ceasefire in Gaza that secures the release of hostages and how it is Hamas that is standing between the Palestinian people and a ceasefire".

Hamas said on Saturday it was studying the latest Israeli counterproposal regarding a potential ceasefire in Gaza, a day after media reports said a delegation from mediator Egypt arrived in Israel in a bid to jump-start stalled negotiations.

From the outset Saudi Arabia has worked with other regional and global powers to try to contain the war in Gaza and avoid the type of conflagration that could derail its ambitious economic reform agenda known as Vision 2030.

The kingdom also remains in talks about a landmark deal under which it would recognise Israel for the first time while strengthening its security partnership with the United States.


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