Riyadh, November 11, 2023 - Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has arrived in Riyadh, marking a significant moment in regional diplomacy as leaders gather for the Joint Arab Islamic Extraordinary Summit. The summit, hosted by Saudi Arabia, focuses on addressing the escalating conflict in Gaza under what the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs terms "unprecedented circumstances."
President Raisi's arrival in Riyadh holds particular significance as it marks the first encounter between the Iranian President and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman since the two nations took steps to restore diplomatic relations earlier this year. The visit is further distinguished by being the first by an Iranian president to the Kingdom in 11 years.
Saudi Arabia's initiative to convene the summit underscores the urgency and gravity of the situation in Gaza, and participating leaders aim to forge a unified collective position to address the evolving developments in the region.
The Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs has stated that the attending leaders, including Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, will collaborate on "uniting efforts" to respond effectively to the challenges in Gaza.
The inclusion of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is noteworthy as Syria, absent from the Arab League for 11 years, was re-admitted to the organization in May. The Arab League, comprising Middle Eastern and African nations, along with the Palestine Liberation Organization, will play a central role in discussions aiming to navigate the complexities of the Gaza conflict.
The summit provides a platform for leaders to engage in diplomatic dialogue, fostering regional cooperation amid a backdrop of renewed relations and a shared commitment to addressing pressing issues affecting the Middle East. The outcomes of this historic gathering are awaited with keen interest as the international community watches closely for signs of collaborative efforts to alleviate the crisis in Gaza.