Published:  08:57 AM, 11 June 2024

Blinken arrives in Cairo at start of Mideast tour

Blinken arrives in Cairo at start of Mideast tour
 
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Egypt on Monday at the start of a regional tour to push for a much awaited Gaza ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

Blinken is expected to hold closed-door talks with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo before heading to Jerusalem later on Monday to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Egypt, the first Arab state to recognise Israel and sign a peace treaty with it in 1979, has long mediated between Israeli and Palestinian officials.
Sisi and Blinken are expected to discuss plans to reopen the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza, a key conduit for aid into the besieged territory which has been closed for a month since Israeli troops seized its Palestinian side.

The top US diplomat's eighth visit to the region since war broke out in early October is intended to gather support for a proposal announced on May 31 by US President Joe Biden.

Key mediators the US, Egypt and Qatar have been engaged in months of negotiations for a ceasefire.
A one-week truce in November -- the only one so far in the Israel-Hamas war -- saw some 100 hostages freed, most of them in exchange for 240 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails.

Under the latest proposal, Israel would withdraw from Gaza population centres and Hamas would free hostages as fighting halts for an initial six weeks, with the truce extended as negotiators seek a permanent end to hostilities.

Hamas has not formally responded to the plan, which Biden had described an Israeli, while fears have mounted that domestic Israeli politics could hamper negotiations.

While in Israel, Blinken is also expected to meet Benny Gantz, a centrist politician who on Sunday resigned from the war cabinet over Netanyahu's handling of the war.

Blinken will then head to Jordan and Qatar for further talks.
The war broke out after the October 7 attack on southern Israel that resulted in the deaths of 1,194 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli official figures.

Israel's retaliatory military offensive has killed at least 37,124 people in Gaza, also mostly civilians, according to the territory's health ministry.



Latest News


More From World

Go to Home Page »

Site Index The Asian Age