Blinken to continue Gaza diplomacy during Middle East visit

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The US State Department said on Monday that Secretary Anthony Blinken will visit Israel, the West Bank and the UAE this week to press for more humanitarian aid to Gaza and help secure the release of all Hamas hostages.

The ministry added in a statement that he will travel to Belgium, North Macedonia, Israel, the West Bank, and the UAE from Monday to Saturday.

“In Israel and the West Bank, Blinken will discuss Israel’s right to defend itself in accordance with international humanitarian law as well as ongoing efforts to secure the release of the remaining hostages, protect civilian lives during Israeli operations in Gaza, and accelerate humanitarian aid to civilians in Gaza,” the statement read.

A State Department said earlier that he will speak about the need for a lasting political solution to the long-running conflict, after laying out Washington's red lines during a visit to Japan this month on how to govern the Strip if Hamas is defeated.

Blinken ruled out the Israeli occupation of Gaza, the permanent displacement of its population, and the reduction of its territory, although a clear plan has not yet emerged in talks with Arab countries, Israel, and Palestinian leaders.

The US State Department said that he "will also discuss the principles he outlined in Tokyo on November 8 and concrete steps to advance the establishment of a future Palestinian state".

Blinken arrived in Brussels on Monday evening, where he will attend the NATO foreign ministers' summit on Tuesday. He will also attend a meeting of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe scheduled for Wednesday in Skopje.

The ministry reported that Blinken will also discuss the need to establish an independent Palestinian state, in addition to attending COP28 in Dubai.

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