June 10, 2024

Press Hamas to accept ceasefire deal — Blinken urges Mideast states

Press Hamas to accept ceasefire deal — Blinken urges Mideast states

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged the Middle Eastern governments to pressure Hamas to accept U.S. President Joe Biden’s proposal to end the war in Gaza.

“My message to governments throughout the region and people throughout the region: If you want a ceasefire, press Hamas to say yes,” he said shortly before leaving Egypt.

“If you want to alleviate the terrible suffering of Palestinians in Gaza, press Hamas to say yes. If you want to get the hostages home, press Hamas to say yes,” Blinken added.

Countries in the region and around the world have endorsed the three-phase plan, while “the only party that has not said yes is Hamas,” Blinken said on Monday.

Blinken said that Israel has accepted Biden’s proposal, and they were critical of putting it forward.

However, there has not been clear public approval from the Israeli government.

Earlier, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel’s conditions for an end to the war had not changed. These included the total destruction of Hamas and the release of all the hostages.

Reaching a ceasefire deal also “opens the path to more durable security, calm, and peace in Gaza, and for that, it is critical that we continue to work on plans for the day after,” Blinken added.

Qatar, the United States, and Egypt have been mediating for months to achieve a ceasefire and exchange hostages kept by the militant group for Palestinian prisoners held in Israel.

Blinken arrived in Cairo on Monday for a meeting with President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi on the first leg of his Middle East tour aimed at brokering an end to the ongoing Gaza war between Israel and Hamas.

Egypt’s presidency said in a statement that the two reviewed joint efforts to reach a ceasefire and exchange hostages and have agreed to intensify efforts during the current stage.

Al-Sissi stressed the importance of concerted international efforts to remove obstacles to the delivery of humanitarian aid, end the war, and prevent the expansion of the conflict.

After Egypt, Blinken plans to head to Israel. His tour is also expected to include Jordan and Qatar and to last until Wednesday. (dpa/NAN)