Blinken meets with Egypt president, El-Sisi to discuss Gaza’s ceasefire

The U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi on Thursday in Cairo to discuss negotiation in securing an immediate ceasefire for at least six weeks and the release of all hostages.

They also discussed ongoing efforts to protect Palestinian civilians and humanitarian workers in Gaza and Egypt’s essential leadership role in facilitating increased humanitarian assistance.

Blinken reiterated the United States’ rejection of any forced displacement of Palestinians from Gaza and reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to work with Egypt to advance peace and regional stability, including through the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with security guarantees for Israel.

The Secretary condemned the Houthi attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea and noted they do nothing to advance the cause of the Palestinian people.

He also conveyed to President El-Sisi the United States’ strong support for the Egyptian government’s recent economic measures aimed at strengthening Egypt’s economy.

President El-Sisi warned of grave consequences from any Israeli ground attack on Rafah city, where more than 1.4 million people have taken refuge from Israel’s ongoing war on the Gaza Strip.

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He also called for the entry of sufficient aid to Gaza and opening a political horizon to establish an independent Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Blinken kicked off his latest regional tour on Wednesday by holding talks with officials in Saudi Arabia to discuss a cease-fire deal in Gaza. He is scheduled to visit Israel on Friday.

The top diplomat said Wednesday that the US has submitted a draft resolution to the UN Security Council that calls “for an immediate cease-fire” in Gaza that’s “tied to the release” of hostages held by Hamas.

Israel has waged a deadly military offensive on the Gaza Strip since an Oct. 7 cross-border attack led by Hamas in which some 1,200 Israelis were killed.

Nearly 32,000 Palestinians, mostly women and children, have since been killed in Gaza, and nearly 74,200 injured amid mass destruction and shortages of necessities.

The Israeli war, now in its 167th day, has pushed 85% of Gaza’s population into internal displacement amid a crippling blockade of most food, clean water, and medicine, while 60% of the enclave’s infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice, which in January issued an interim ruling ordering Tel Aviv to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

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