Blinken to visit Saudi Arabia, Egypt to discuss Gaza ceasefire


MARCH 19, ARTSAKHPRESS. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to Saudi Arabia and Egypt this week to discuss efforts to secure a ceasefire in Gaza and increase humanitarian aid to the Palestinian territory, Barron’s reports citing a State Department spokesperson.

Blinken will hold talks with Saudi leaders in Jeddah on Wednesday before travelling to Cairo on Thursday for talks with Egyptian authorities, spokesman Matthew Miller said from the Philippines, where Blinken is touring.

This will be Blinken’s sixth trip to the Middle East since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas on October 7.

“The Secretary will discuss efforts to reach an immediate ceasefire agreement that secures the release of all remaining hostages, intensified international efforts to increase humanitarian assistance to Gaza, and coordination on post-conflict planning for Gaza, including ensuring Hamas can no longer govern or repeat the attacks of October 7,” Miller said in a statement.

And he will raise the imperative issue of ending attacks by Yemen’s Houthi rebels on commercial ships, to restore stability and security in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, Miller added.

The announcement comes a day after Israel’s Mossad spy chief, David Barnea, was to meet with Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani and Egyptian officials in Doha, a source close to the talks said. The meeting follows the latest proposal from Hamas for a six-week truce, vastly more aid into Gaza and the initial release of about 42 hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel. During the proposed truce, Israeli forces would withdraw from “all cities and populated areas” in Gaza, according to a Hamas official.

The war was triggered by a Hamas-led attack on southern Israeli towns on Oct. 7 that left 1,200 people killed and 253 taken hostage, according to Israeli tallies. Since then, Israel’s air, sea and ground assault on Gaza has killed more than 31,600 people, according to Gaza health authorities.

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