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Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the UK says it is interested in normalising relations with Israel after the war in Gaza, but that any deal must lead to the creation of a Palestinian state.

Prince Khalid bin Bandar told the BBC a pact was “close” when the the kingdom paused US-brokered talks after Hamas’s deadly attacks on Israel on 7 October.

Saudi Arabia still believed in establishing ties with Israel despite the “deplorable” casualty figures in Gaza, he said, but it would not “come at the cost of the Palestinian people”.

The ambassador also warned that there was a “failure of humanity” over Gaza, with the international community not doing enough to end the fighting.

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