Blinken begins latest Middle East tour, set to meet Arab leaders in Cairo

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has begun a tour of the Middle East by holding talks in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, hoping to secure a ceasefire in Israel’s war on Gaza.

Blinken is set to meet Arab foreign ministers and a senior Palestinian official in Cairo on Thursday, according to an Egyptian foreign ministry note, as he pushes for a truce between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, where hunger is spreading amid growing warnings of a looming famine.

The note did not give details on the subject of the meeting, but Egyptian security sources cited by the Reuters news agency said Arab nations would present plans for a political solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Such plans had been put on hold as mediators from Qatar, Egypt and the United States sought to secure a deal for a ceasefire in Gaza and the release of Israeli hostages and Palestinian prisoners.

After arriving in Saudi Arabia, Blinken met Prince Faisal bin Farhan, the Saudi foreign minister, and was expected to hold talks with ruling Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The two top diplomats “discussed the urgent need to protect all civilians in Gaza and immediately increase humanitarian assistance to those in need”, the US State Department said in a statement.

Blinken is on his sixth trip to the Middle East since Israel’s war on Gaza began on October 7. He has said he would pursue conversations on arrangements for the governance, security and redevelopment of post-conflict Gaza, and for lasting regional peace during his tour.

Source: Aljazeera

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