President Joe Biden sends Antony Blinken to Middle East after Gaza truce
US President Joe Biden on Monday asked his top diplomat Antony Blinken to travel to the Middle East to meet Israeli and Palestinian leaders, among other regional leaders, and advance the peace process, amid a ceasefire between the two sides.
“Following up on our quiet, intensive diplomacy to bring about a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, I have asked my Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, to travel to the Middle East this week. During his trip, Secretary Blinken will meet with Israeli leaders about our ironclad commitment to Israel’s security,” Biden said in a statement.
“He will continue our Administration’s efforts to rebuild ties to, and support for, the Palestinian people and leaders, after years of neglect. He will engage other key partners in the region, including on the coordinated international effort to ensure immediate assistance reaches Gaza in a way that benefits the people there and not Hamas, and on reducing the risk of further conflict in the coming months,” said the president.
Blinken will travel to Jerusalem, Ramallah, Cairo and Amman through Thursday and meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and Jordan’s King Abdullah, the State Department said.
His trip comes days after the announcement of Egypt-brokered ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian factions in Gaza Strip.
“In the wake of the ceasefire, Secretary Blinken will be travelling to Israel and the West Bank today and tomorrow, where he’ll meet with Israeli and Palestinian leaders. He’ll then move on to Egypt and Jordan, where he’ll meet with leaders there to discuss recovery efforts and a means of working together to build better futures for people here on the ground and in the region,” a Senior State Department official told reporters.
“We are incredibly relieved at the terrible violence which tore apart the lives of so many innocents has ended, and we’re committed to supporting all efforts to a lasting peace,” the official said.
Blinken looks forward to meeting regional leaders and discussing how the US can support Israelis and Palestinians to rebuild and address the underlying causes that led to this crisis, and by advancing equal measures of freedom, security, and prosperity for Israelis and Palestinians alike in tangible ways, said the official, who interacted with reporters on conditions of anonymity.
Responding to a question, the official said that the US does not want to see a return to the bloodshed that was heartbreaking during the 11-day conflict. “We are certainly going to look for ways to improve Israeli and Palestinian lives, and as we’ve said over and over again, advance freedom, security, and prosperity for Israelis and Palestinians alike, hopefully in tangible ways in the immediate term,” said the official.
The United States, the official said, is going to be working in partnership with the United Nations and the Palestinian Authority to kind of channel aid there in a manner that does its best to go to the people of Gaza.
“I’m also sure that the Government of Egypt will have some role in that. As we’ve seen in life, as we all know in life, there are no guarantees, but we’re going to do everything that we can to ensure that this assistance reaches the people who need it the most,” said the official.
According to the State Department, Blinken will first travel to Jerusalem, where he will meet with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, and other senior Israeli officials.
“In Ramallah, he will meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh, and other senior officials from the Palestinian Authority,” said State Department Spokesperson Ned Price.
Blinken will then travel to Cairo to meet with President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi and Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry. The Secretary will conclude his trip with a stop in Amman to meet with King Abdullah II of Jordan and Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, he said.
The United States has engaged in intensive diplomacy to bring an end to the hostilities in Gaza. Blinken is travelling to the region to discuss essential follow-up efforts to consolidate the ceasefire and reduce risks of further conflict over the coming months, Price said.
Published at Mon, 24 May 2021 16:24:35 +0000