Antony Blinken back in the Middle East to discuss ceasefire proposal
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Antony Blinken back in the Middle East to discuss ceasefire proposal

Antony Blinken back in the Middle East to discuss ceasefire proposal

This marks Blinken’s eighth trip to the region since the conflict erupted in October 2023

Gulf Business

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in the Middle East on Monday, intensifying efforts to implement a ceasefire in Gaza, as proposed by President Joe Biden last month.

This marks Blinken’s eighth trip to the region, since the conflict erupted, underscoring Washington’s push to end the ongoing violence.

During his visit to Cairo, Blinken urged regional nations to pressure Hamas into accepting the ceasefire plan. “My message to governments throughout the region, to people throughout the region, is if you want a ceasefire, press Hamas to say yes,” Blinken stated after meeting Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi.

According to the US, Israel has agreed to the proposal, although no formal announcement has been made by Israeli officials.

The ceasefire plan, outlined by President Biden, envisions a phased cessation of hostilities, eventually leading to a lasting peace. However, Israel has indicated it will only agree to temporary pauses until Hamas is defeated, while Hamas demands assurances for a permanent end to the conflict.

The proposal received significant support on Monday, with 14 members of the UN Security Council endorsing a US-drafted resolution backing the plan, though Russia abstained. Hamas expressed willingness to cooperate with mediators on the plan, despite criticising Blinken’s remarks as biassed towards Israel.

Following his Cairo stop, Blinken travelled to Israel, where he met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Yoav Gallant. During these meetings, he stressed the importance of a comprehensive strategy for Gaza and the necessity of preventing further regional escalation, according to US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller.

Additionally, Blinken held a separate phone call with Benny Gantz, a centrist minister who joined Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in an emergency coalition, to discuss the proposed ceasefire deal in Gaza, the State Department said on Sunday.

The top US diplomat also spoke to Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud on June 1, during which they discussed the latest Gaza ceasefire proposal, the Saudi state news agency said.

Read: Blinken meets Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman amid ceasefire negotiations

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