Oil won’t be used as leverage to push for Gaza ceasefire: Saudi minister

Oil won’t be used as leverage to push for Gaza ceasefire: Saudi minister
3 min read
09 November, 2023
Saudi Arabia's minister of investment, Khalid al-Falih, reassures that the Gulf country has no plans to use oil production as leverage in the Gaza conflict, emphasising a commitment to peace through diplomatic discussions.
Al-Falih made the comments at the Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Singapore [Getty]

Saudi Arabia has no intention of using its oil production as a tool to influence the course of the war on Gaza, Investment Minister Khalid Al-Falih, said on Wednesday.

Speaking at the Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Singapore, Al-Falih assured Israelis and Western countries that his country had no intention of using oil as a weapon to push for a ceasefire in Gaza.

His comments came in response to a question at which he laughed, saying: "That is not on the table today. Saudi Arabia is trying to find peace through peaceful discussions."

Iran and Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah had urged oil-producing countries to impose an oil embargo and other sanctions on Israel in response to its ongoing military campaign on the besieged Gaza Strip, where more than 10,800 Palestinians - mostly children, women and elderly - have been killed since 7 October.

In 1973, Saudi Arabia imposed an oil embargo on the US and other countries for their support of Israel in the war against Egypt and Syria.

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Saudi-Israel deal 'still on the table'

The minister also said that talks towards Saudi normalisation with Israel were still under consideration.

"That was on the table - it remains on the table and obviously the setback over the last month has clarified why Saudi Arabia was so adamant that resolution of the Palestinian conflict has to be part of a broader normalisation in the Middle East," he said.

The two countries were in advanced talks to normalise relations before 7 October attacks, which killed an estimated 1,400 Israelis.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman reportedly asked Washington for security guarantees and access to civilian nuclear technology, as well as advanced weapons in exchange for a deal with Israel.

Saudi diplomats also said that Israel must agree to the establishment of a Palestinian state as detailed by the 2002 Saudi Peace Initiative.

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Saudi Arabia to host summit for Gaza

Al-Falih announced that Riyadh will host summits of Arab and Islamic nations in the coming days to discuss the situation in Gaza.

"We will see, this week, in the next few days Saudi Arabia convening an emergency Arab summit in Riyadh," he said.

"In a few days you will see Saudi Arabia convening an Islamic summit," he added.

"In the short term, the objective of bringing these three summits and other gatherings under the leadership of Saudi Arabia would be to drive towards peaceful resolution of the conflict."

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi will travel to Saudi Arabia on Sunday for the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit, Etemadonline news reported, the first visit by an Iranian head of government since Tehran and Riyadh ended years of hostility under a China-brokered deal in March.

Al-Falih also said Saudi Arabia would convene a summit with African nations, without specifying a date.