World News

Antony Blinken Talks Gaza Ceasefire With Saudi Foreign Minister On Mideast Tour

Blinken Talks Gaza Ceasefire With Saudi Foreign Minister On Mideast Tour

Antony Blinken on Wednesday met with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan.


Visiting US top diplomat Antony Blinken discussed Wednesday with his Saudi counterpart “the urgent need” to protect civilians in war-battered Gaza and efforts toward a truce, the State Department said.

Secretary of State Blinken, who landed in Jeddah earlier Wednesday on the first leg of a regional tour that was extended to include Israel, met with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan before holding talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Blinken and Prince Faisal “discussed the urgent need to protect all civilians in Gaza and immediately increase humanitarian assistance to those in need”, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said in a statement.

“Blinken stressed the importance of continued close coordination with regional and international partners on resolving the conflict in Gaza and preparing for the post-conflict phase,” Miller said.

The kingdom marks the first stop on Blinken’s sixth Middle East tour since the Israel-Hamas war started on October 7.

He is due to travel on Thursday to Egypt, which borders Gaza and has been involved in mediation efforts toward a truce.

The following day he will head to Israel in a previously unscheduled visit that comes amid strained ties between US President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The top diplomat will discuss with Israeli officials “the ongoing negotiations to secure the release of all hostages” held in Gaza and efforts to boost aid deliveries to the besieged territory, Miller said.

Blinken will also “discuss the need to ensure the defeat of Hamas, including in Rafah, in a way that protects the civilian population… and advances Israel’s overall security”, according to the spokesman.

Washington has supported Israel with billions of dollars in military aid since the October 7 Hamas attack, but has become increasingly frustrated by its ally’s failure to curb civilian deaths or let in vital aid.

Another major area of concern for the US has been the fate of Rafah in the far south of the Gaza Strip.

Biden has put pressure on Netanyahu to pull back from a threatened full-scale ground operation on the tiny area which hosts around 1.5 million people, most of them displaced from elsewhere in the territory.

In Jeddah and Cairo, Blinken will discuss efforts to reach an “immediate ceasefire agreement that secures the release of all remaining hostages”, Miller said on Tuesday.

He will also discuss a post-war “political path for the Palestinian people with security assurances for Israel, and an architecture for lasting peace and security in the region”, the spokesman added.

On Tuesday, Blinken said all Gazans were now suffering “severe levels of acute food insecurity”.

“That’s the first time an entire population has been so classified,” he said during a visit to the Philippines.

The United States is striving to broker an eventual normalisation agreement between Saudi Arabia and Israel, which would entail US security guarantees for the Gulf kingdom, officials travelling with Blinken told AFP.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button