Blinken Visits Middle East To Seek Release Of Hostages, Humanitarian Truce In Gaza


(MENAFN- Daily News Egypt) US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken will start a five-day tour of the Middle East on Sunday, visiting Israel, the West Bank, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Qatar.

Blinken aims to“continue diplomatic efforts to secure an agreement that ensures the release of all remaining hostages and enables a humanitarian truce that allows for increased and sustained humanitarian assistance to civilians in Gaza,” the US State Department said.

He will also work to prevent the escalation of the conflict while reaffirming the US commitment to protect its personnel and the right to freedom of navigation in the Red Sea, the department added.

Blinken will further pursue“dialogue with partners on how to build a more integrated peaceful region that provides lasting security for both Israelis and Palestinians.”

Meanwhile, French Foreign Minister Stéphane Séjourné began a Middle East tour on Saturday that will end on Tuesday and will focus on the political outlook for the post-war phase in Gaza.

Séjourné hopes to“contribute to achieving a ceasefire and the release of hostages” and persuade the parties to“reopen the political horizon” based on the principle of a two-state solution, according to Foreign Ministry spokesman Christophe Lemoine.

The two visits come amid intense negotiations between the US, Egypt, Israel, and Qatar to reach a new truce, after a temporary one was agreed upon at the end of November and lasted for a week, involving the release of hostages from the Gaza Strip in exchange for the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails.

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