https://turan.az-U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is headed back to the Middle East later this week, his third to the region since Hamas launched a deadly attack in southern Israel on Oct 7 and kidnapped more than 240 people, TURAN’s Wasnington correspondent reports.
The trip will come amid a brief ceasefire and prisoner exchanges during the past couple of days which have been a reprieve from seven weeks of fighting. Blinken, who is currently visiting Europe to attend NATO and OSCE Ministerials in Belgium and North Macedonia, will be headed to Israel, the West Bank, and the UAE, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller announced on Monday/
In Tel-Aviv and the West Bank, Blinken will discuss “Israel’s right to defend itself consistent with international humanitarian law, as well as continued efforts to secure the release of remaining hostages, protect civilian life during Israel’s operations in Gaza, and accelerate humanitarian assistance to civilians in Gaza. The Secretary will also discuss the principles he outlined in Tokyo on November 8, tangible steps to further the creation of a future Palestinian state, and the need to prevent the conflict from widening,” Miller said.
Blinken will also stop by Dubai to attend the UN Climate Conference where he will also meet with counterparts on regional issues, including the conflict between Israel and Hamas.
Meanwhile, the White House on Monday welcomed the agreement between Israel and Hamas to a 48-hour extension of their four-day pause in fighting.
President Biden applauded the extension in a statement. “We are taking full advantage of the pause in fighting to increase the amount of humanitarian aid moving into Gaza, and we will continue our efforts to build a future of peace and dignity for the Palestinian people,” he said in a statement.
“The humanitarian pause has also enabled a significant surge in additional humanitarian assistance to the innocent civilians who are suffering across the Gaza strip. The United States has led the humanitarian response into Gaza—building on years of work as the largest funder of humanitarian assistance for the Palestinian people,” Biden noted.
He also added: “We will not stop until all of the hostages held by Hamas terrorists are released. ”