King Charles to hold behind the scenes talks later with Arab leaders
King Charles to hold behind the scenes talks later this month with Arab leaders to discuss a plan for peace in Gaza
- EXCLUSIVE: He is hoping his ties to Arab royals may boost diplomatic initiatives
King Charles will hold talks with Arab leaders this month to discuss a road map for peace in Gaza, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
He is hoping his close working and personal ties to Arab royals might boost diplomatic initiatives and is holding bilateral discussions, according to sources. It is understood the meetings will take place in Dubai ahead of the COP28 climate summit, beginning on November 30, where Charles will deliver an opening address on December 1.
Sources told the MoS that Charles will use the visit to hold talks with regional leaders to ‘promote interfaith harmony and dialogue’.
Experts think he will try to ‘nudge diplomacy efforts forward’ by discussing the release of Israeli hostages and more humanitarian aid.
Charles will act as a respected global statesman. He has long been profoundly interested in the Arab world. It is known he believes the West only stands a chance of winning the war on terror by dealing with the Israel-Palestine question, which he refers to as ‘the real toxin’ infecting the whole world.
King Charles will hold talks with Arab leaders this month to discuss a road map for peace in Gaza, The Mail on Sunday can reveal
Experts think he will try to ‘nudge diplomacy efforts forward’ by discussing the release of Israeli hostages and more humanitarian aid
The King is well respected in the Gulf States and Middle East, not least for his sympathetic speeches about Islam. He has studied the Koran and has even learnt Arabic.
The Royal Family also maintain relationships with rulers in the Middle East through horse racing. Last summer Charles and Camilla were pictured at Royal Ascot with the Crown Prince of Dubai, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed.
The conflict in Gaza disrupted a US-brokered deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia that would have normalised relations between the countries, bringing Saudi Arabia more firmly into the US security fold and eliciting Israeli commitments on the Palestinian issue.
The MoS understands that while Charles may not meet directly with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), he could communicate with him by proxy through the King of Bahrain and the Sultan of Oman. In August, it was reported the Saudi prince was set to officially visit the UK later this year, when King Charles would entertain him.
A source said: ‘The King is very concerned about the issue and, while he is in the Middle East, he is taking the chance to have bilateral talks. Is the purpose of COP to sort out the Middle East crisis? No. But it’s a chance to continue listening and attempting to promote as much interfaith and intercommunity harmony and dialogue as he can in the shared ambition for a peaceful outcome.’
It is known he believes the West only stands a chance of winning the war on terror by dealing with the Israel-Palestine question, which he refers to as ‘the real toxin’ infecting the whole world
Last week Buckingham Palace confirmed the King would have meetings with regional leaders ahead of COP28 but did not reveal the topics they would discuss. Palace aides said they hoped ‘the King’s unique ability to bring people together’ will help find solutions. Charles also has a strong relationship with the British Jewish community and in 2020 became the most senior Royal to pay an official visit to Israel and the occupied Palestinian Territories.
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Professor Yossi Mekelberg, an associate fellow at Chatham House, said: ‘King Charles will do his best to nudge diplomacy efforts forward and bring shades of grey into the discussion that is tainted by complete polarisation.
‘While he cannot overstep the UK Government line, he can emphasise the need to release the Israeli hostages and push for ensuring more humanitarian aid enters Gaza.’
Prof Mekelberg added the King will ‘encourage discussion about the bigger picture’ by talking about the need to end the conflict through an agreement based on a two-state solution. He added: ‘We have to be realistic about how much difference King Charles can make, but his words are powerful as monarch of an important member of the UN Security Council.’
The meetings will continue Charles’s efforts on home soil. Four days after the October 7 Hamas attacks, which he condemned as ‘barbaric acts of terrorism’, the King spoke to Israeli President Isaac Herzog and Jordan’s King Abdullah to express his concerns for those who were suffering. The next day he met Britain’s Chief Rabbi at Buckingham Palace to discuss the impact of the attacks on the UK’s Jewish population.
During his Mansion House address on October 18, the King stressed the importance of ‘tolerance and civility’ at times ‘of global turmoil and heartbreaking loss of life’. Two weeks later he had a private meeting with the Crown Prince of Kuwait, where they also discussed the Israel-Gaza conflict.
Last night Buckingham Palace declined to comment.
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