US secretary of state discusses Gaza crisis with Red Cross president and Middle East diplomats

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken

© APA | US Secretary of State Antony Blinken

# 09 December 2023 20:39 (UTC +04:00)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) President Mirjana Spoljaric Egger and several top Middle East diplomats Friday to discuss the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza, APA reports.

As CNN has been reporting, the US has been facing criticism for blocking a UN resolution that called for a ceasefire in Gaza. The US has stepped up pressure on Israel to do more to protect civilians but remains a crucial ally.

Blinken’s call with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan “affirmed the urgency of addressing humanitarian needs in Gaza, preventing further spread of the conflict, and reinforcing regional stability,” according to a State Department readout of the call.

The State Department also said in a statement that Blinken met Friday with a delegation representing the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which included the Foreign Ministers of Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, as well as a Palestinian Authority senior official.

During the meeting, Blinken “reaffirmed the United States’ support for Israel’s right to ensure Hamas can never repeat the October 7 attacks as well as the urgency of addressing humanitarian needs in Gaza, protecting Palestinian civilians from harm, preventing displacement, and containing further spread of the conflict,” per a statement.

Blinken also “discussed the US commitment to achieving lasting peace and security in the region including through the establishment of a future Palestinian state alongside the State of Israel.”

In his call with ICRC President Spoljaric, Blinken “emphasized the importance of ICRC’s humanitarian response to the conflict in Gaza” and the two “discussed efforts to strengthen civilian protections and expand the flow of humanitarian assistance throughout Gaza,” according to Miller.

Blinken also “reiterated the call for the immediate release of all hostages and highlighted the need for the IRC to be granted access to the remain hostages” during the call.