Blinken visits Saudi Arabia, Egypt to discuss Gaza ceasefire

Blinken visits Saudi Arabia, Egypt to discuss Gaza ceasefire

Shafaq News / The spokesperson for the US State Department, Matthew Miller, announced on Tuesday that Secretary of State Antony Blinken will visit Saudi Arabia and Egypt this week to discuss efforts to reach an agreement to halt the violence in Gaza and increase humanitarian aid entry.

Miller stated that Blinken will hold talks with Saudi leaders in Jeddah on Wednesday, before moving to Cairo on Thursday to meet with Egyptian officials, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP).

This announcement comes as both Israel and Hamas have begun negotiations through mediators in Doha regarding the details of a potential ceasefire agreement in the besieged strip and the release of prisoners for the first time in months.

Moreover, it is anticipated that a US team and another Israeli team will hold a meeting in Washington soon to discuss ways to secure the borders with Egypt without conducting a major ground operation in Rafah, south of Gaza, and to deliver aid to the strip.

Saudi Arabia has emphasized several times in recent months the need for a ceasefire in Gaza and the delivery of aid, criticizing Israeli violations in the strip against thousands of civilians.

Additionally, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan discussed efforts to address the humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian sector with his American counterpart last week.

Noteworthy, the latest report issued by the United Nations on Monday forecasted the spread of famine from now until May in northern Gaza, where 300,000 people are still trapped due to the conflict.

The report, based on the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), stated that the number of people facing a "catastrophic level of hunger" throughout Gaza has risen to 1.1 million, representing about half of the population.

Furthermore, the UN Food Agency mentioned that "famine is imminent" in northern Gaza, where an estimated 70% of the population is facing catastrophic hunger.

Since the outbreak of the war on October 7th following the Hamas attack on Israeli settlements and military bases in the Gaza Strip, Israel has imposed a suffocating blockade on the densely populated strip, preventing hundreds of relief trucks lined up at the Rafah border crossing with Egypt from entering. Additionally, the complex inspection procedures imposed by Israeli forces on aid trucks have hindered their entry.

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