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Blinken to meet with Israelis as Hamas considers plan to free hostages in Gaza
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Blinken to meet with Israelis as Hamas considers plan to free hostages in Gaza
by Chris Benson
Washington DC (UPI) Feb 6, 2024

As the United States remains engaged in deliberations for a Hamas hostage proposal, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken prepares to meet with Israel to discuss the issue.

On Tuesday, Hamas was said to have a "positive" response to a possible framework agreement on the hostages held by Hamas militants in Gaza, but it offered few details in a short statement.

Blinken was in Doha on Tuesday, meeting with Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani.

In its statement, Hamas confirmed efforts are underway, saying its members "value the role of our brothers in Egypt, Qatar and all countries that seek to stop the brutal aggression against our people."

Blinken is on a four-day Middle East trip until Thursday with a goal of freeing the remaining hostages in Gaza and seeking an extended pause in the Israel-Hamas war.

The United States' top diplomat also met Tuesday in Cairo with Egypt's President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to discuss the effort to secure the release of the hostages.

In Egypt, the State Department said, Blinken had "expressed appreciation for Egypt's leadership role in facilitating the delivery of humanitarian assistance to Palestinians in Gaza."

U.S. State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said discussions with Egypt centered on regional stability, including a halt to Houthi attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea.

Blinken had emphasized to Egypt America's "rejection of any forced displacement of Palestinians from Gaza and commitment to establishing a Palestinian state that provides peace and security for Israelis and Palestinians alike."

On Monday in Riyadh with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman, Blinken "underscored the importance of addressing humanitarian needs in Gaza and preventing further spread of the conflict," Miller said.

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