Top US diplomat set to return to Mideast

Antony Blinken, US Secretary of State

© APA | Antony Blinken, US Secretary of State

# 31 January 2024 21:33 (UTC +04:00)

Secretary of State Antony Blinken will return to the Middle East later this week on his fifth urgent diplomatic mission since Israel’s issue with Hamas began in October, the White House and a State Department official said Wednesday, APA reports citing The Washington Post.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby and the State Department official said Blinken would travel to the Mideast this weekend as part of the Biden administration’s efforts to prepare for post-conflict reconstruction and governance of Gaza, ramp up humanitarian aid to Palestinian civilians, release hostages and prevent the war from spreading.

The trip comes as discussions over a cease-fire and hostage release are intensifying, but also as fears grow of a regional conflict.

“These negotiations, our negotiations, are very, very active,” Kirby said, noting talks held last weekend between CIA Director William Burns, senior Israeli and Egyptian intelligence officials and Qatar’s prime minister. “We believe that the discussions have been productive. They’ve been moving in the right direction.”