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Sullivan to visit Saudi Arabia and Israel, hold talks on Gaza Strip

Sullivan to visit Saudi Arabia and Israel, hold talks on Gaza Strip US White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan (photo:Getty Images)

President Biden's National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan, will visit Saudi Arabia and Israel this weekend to discuss a peaceful resolution of the situation in the Gaza Strip and options for an agreement between Israel and Hamas, reports Reuters.

According to the agency, on Saturday, May 18, Sullivan will head to Saudi Arabia for talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and on Sunday, he will visit Israel to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

White House national security spokesperson John Kirby told reporters at a briefing that during talks with Israelis, Sullivan will emphasize the need for targeted efforts against Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip, rather than a full-scale assault on Rafah - a city in the south of the region.

Kirby said Sullivan's talks with the Saudis would address bilateral and regional issues, including the war in Gaza and, of course, efforts to achieve lasting peace and security in the region.

The American official announced that this week the region will be visited by Biden's Middle East envoy Brett McGurk for consultations. He will visit Doha to discuss efforts to release hostages held by Hamas and will join Sullivan during his visits to Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Sources report that the Biden administration and Saudi Arabia are finalizing a deal on US security guarantees and assistance in the civilian nuclear sphere. At the same time, the Israeli-Saudi normalization deal, part of a grand deal in the Middle East, remains elusive.

Kirby said Sullivan's talks with Netanyahu and other senior Israeli officials will include Rafah. Israel has threatened a broad offensive in Rafah but the operation is opposed by the US out of concerns for the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who fled there to get out of the way of fighting elsewhere in Gaza.

According to Kirby, Sullivan will advocate for a more targeted approach to Hamas militants in Rafah. He also announced that Biden's security advisor would discuss recent attempts to reach an agreement with Hamas on the release of sick, elderly, and wounded hostages held since the militants seized hostages in southern Israel on October 7.

Situation in the Gaza Strip

Since October 2023, Israel has been conducting a military operation in the Gaza Strip against Hamas militants. On October 7, terrorists infiltrated Israel, killing and kidnapping hundreds of Israeli military and civilians.

Most of the region is already occupied by the Israeli army and has been destroyed as a result of the fighting. Israel plans to invade the city of Rafah in the south of the Gaza Strip, which is still under Hamas control.

However, the US and several European countries have criticized Tel Aviv for these plans, accusing Israelis of violating international law due to the potential large number of casualties during the city's storming.

Due to Israel's intentions to storm Rafah, Washington has suspended the supply of heavy bombs to Tel Aviv, which the military could use against the civilian population.

Recently, US President Joe Biden said that the fire in the Gaza Strip could cease as early as tomorrow if Hamas agrees to release the hostages.

Details about the current stage of the war between Israel and Hamas can be found in the article by RBC-Ukraine.