Biden, Saudi crown prince discuss Israel-Hamas war diplomacy, White House says

FILE PHOTO: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman receives U.S. President Joe Biden at Al Salman Palace upon his arrival in Jeddah

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Joe Biden and Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman held a call on Tuesday to discuss the war between Israel and Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, the White House said in a statement.

They agreed on pursuing broader diplomatic efforts "to maintain stability across the region and prevent the conflict from expanding," the White House said, adding the two leaders will remain in close coordination directly and through their teams over the coming period.

Biden and the Saudi crown prince welcomed the delivery of humanitarian assistance from Egypt into Gaza and recognized that "much more is needed for civilians" to have sustained access to food, water and medical assistance, according to the White House.

They both welcomed ongoing efforts to secure the release of hostages held by Hamas and called for their immediate release, the White House added.

Gulf states including Saudi Arabia worry a wider conflict would affect their national security and have been pressing Western allies and Israel for a ceasefire in Gaza and a lift of the siege on the strip.

The United States has thus far not supported calls for a ceasefire, with White House national security council spokesman John Kirby saying a ceasefire at this stage will benefit Hamas.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh and Ismail Shakil; Editing by Chris Reese and Chizu Nomiyama)