Blinken says US working to 'close the deal' on Gaza cease-fire

US secretary of state addresses joint news conference with Qatari counterpart in Doha

10:50 - 13/06/2024 Perşembe
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday said Hamas has proposed changes to a potential cease-fire deal in Gaza, and Washington is working for an agreement.

"Hamas has proposed numerous changes to the proposal that was on the table. Some of the changes are workable, some are not," Blinken told a joint news briefing with Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani in Doha.

He underscored Washington's commitment to narrowing gaps "to close the deal" with the mediators, which also includes Qatar and Egypt.

"Based on what we've seen and what I've discussed with the prime minister and our Egyptian colleagues, we're determined to try to bridge the gaps. And I believe those gaps are bridgeable," he said.

Blinken, on his eighth Middle East tour in last eight months, stressed the urgent need for a truce in Gaza, saying: "The longer this goes on, the more people will suffer, and it's time for haggling to stop and a cease-fire to start."

He, however, added that "Hamas will not be allowed to decide the future of this region and its people," hinting at post-war scenario in the Palestinian enclave where Israel has killed more than 37,000 Palestinians since an Oct. 7, 2023 attack by the resistance group.

"We are determined and insist that Israel or any other country adhere to international humanitarian law, the laws of armed conflict, uphold human rights, and not commit gross violations of those rights."

The US secretary of state announced plans to "put forward proposals for key elements of a day-after plan, including concrete ideas for how to manage governance, security, reconstruction" in Gaza "in the coming weeks."

"We will continue to do everything we can to support them, particularly in this time of need," he said.

Blinken also reminded that he announced $400 million in additional US support to Palestinians, bringing the total to $670 million in eight months.

US President Joe Biden on May 31 announced a three-phase plan for a permanent end to hostilities and reconstruction of Gaza. The comprehensive roadmap, he said, was offered by Israel, which has not supported it publicly. The plan has also been endorsed by the UN Security Council.

Before Qatar, Blinken visited Egypt, Israel and Jordan.

#Antony Blinken
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