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Blinken visits Middle East to discuss post-war plan for Gaza

Blinken visits Middle East to discuss post-war plan for Gaza Photo: US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken (getty images)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is visiting the Middle East to discuss a post-war governance and security plan for the Gaza Strip. Talks with Arab leaders in Saudi Arabia and then Egypt will focus on what the US calls "an architecture for lasting peace," reports BBC.

Blinken has already arrived in the capital of Saudi Arabia.

It is expected that he will meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the royal palace on Wednesday evening.

They will discuss efforts to reach a ceasefire agreement and increase aid shipments to Gaza amidst alarming reports of the scale of the humanitarian crisis in the territory.

Also on the agenda will be "co-ordination on post-conflict planning for Gaza, including ensuring Hamas can no longer govern or repeat the attacks of 7 October, a political path for the Palestinian people with security assurances with Israel, and an architecture for lasting peace and security in the region," according to the US State Department.

On Thursday, Blinken will head to Cairo to meet with leaders of Egypt.

The Americans are trying to achieve a major deal that would restore the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority (PA) to Gaza for the first time since Hamas expelled it 17 years ago.

The idea involves potential local support from Arab countries, while all parties, including Israel, would commit to seeking a solution for the creation of two states.

Blinken will also travel to Israel on Friday. He will hold talks with Israeli leaders on hostages and the "need to ensure the defeat of Hamas, including in Rafah, in a way that protects the civilian population."

Israel-Hamas war

On October 7, 2023, Hamas militants launched a massive attack on Israel from the Gaza Strip. Following this, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) initiated a ground military operation in the Gaza Strip, which continues to this day. The Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, stated that the objective of the operation is the complete destruction of Hamas and the liberation of hostages.

He also remarked that the IDF's full victory is imminent and announced the readiness of the IDF to commence a ground invasion of the city of Rafah near the border with Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip. Against this backdrop, Egypt threatens to suspend its key peace treaty with Israel if the country's army enters Rafah.

It was also reported on March 12 that a representative of Hamas militants announced that the group had accepted a modified version of the American proposal for a ceasefire in Gaza. Representatives of the movement planned to travel to Cairo in the coming days to discuss final details and implement the agreement.

Prior to this, Bloomberg reported that a ceasefire agreement between Hamas and Israel remains elusive. US President Joe Biden warned Israel against invading the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

However, on March 17, Netanyahu announced that the military campaign against Hamas in the Gaza Strip would continue. The IDF will also conduct a ground operation in Rafah.

Meanwhile, in northern Gaza, over 1.1 million people are experiencing conditions similar to famine. According to the UN, famine is inevitable and could start as early as May and spread throughout the enclave until July.