Rishi Sunak will fly to Saudi Arabia on Thursday night for crisis talks with Mohammed bin Salman amid fears a regional war will erupt in the Middle East. 

The Prime Minister will head straight to Riyadh from Israel, where he has met Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss the country’s response to Hamas terror.

Downing Street announced the meeting with the Saudi Crown Prince, with a spokesman saying “Saudi Arabia remains an important partner” in the region. 

It comes after the Hamas terror attack, in which at least 1,400 Israelis were killed, derailed hopes of normalising relations between Riyadh and Tel Aviv.

Saudi Arabia initially responded to the atrocity by suggesting that Israel was to blame, saying its treatment of Palestinians had led to “explosion of the situation”.

Attempt to improve US-Saudi relations

Joe Biden, the US President, has been trying to broker an improvement in relations as part of a broader plan to bolster the West’s influence in the region.

Prince Mohammed said last month that the efforts were bearing fruit, with the normalisation of diplomatic ties between the nations “getting closer every day”.

In late September an Israel minister made a historic visit to Saudi Arabia and in turn a Saudi delegation travelled to the Palestinian administered West Bank. 

The meeting between Mr Sunak and the Crown Prince will come after the pair spoke on the phone on Wednesday in an effort to de-escalate regional tensions.

Downing Street said that the Prime Minister had “welcomed Saudi Arabia’s leadership in seeking a peaceful resolution to the crisis”.

“The leaders agreed on the importance of avoiding further destabilisation across the Middle East, including through Iranian proxies in the region, and committed to coordinate action to de-escalate tensions,” a spokesman said. 

The Prime Minister set out the UK’s support for Israel’s right to defend itself against terror and combat the threat from Hamas. 

“He confirmed the UK would provide further humanitarian aid for Palestinians in Gaza and continue to support the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people to statehood, alongside regional partners like Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt.”

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