Blinken to Visit Saudi Arabia for Gaza Ceasefire Talks and Hostage Release

U.S. Secretary Blinken to visit Saudi Arabia, urge ceasefire in Gaza and release of Israeli hostages held by Hamas, as conflict remains deadlocked.

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Hadeel Hashem
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Blinken to Visit Saudi Arabia for Gaza Ceasefire Talks and Hostage Release

Blinken to Visit Saudi Arabia for Gaza Ceasefire Talks and Hostage Release

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will visit Saudi Arabia on May 8-9, 2024, to meet with regional partners and discuss efforts to achieve a ceasefire in Gaza and secure the release of Israeli hostages held by Hamas. The visit comes as talks between Israel and Hamas remain deadlocked after more than six months of conflict.

During his trip, Blinken will stress the importance of preventing the conflict from spreading and achieving lasting peace and security in the region, including through a pathway to an independent Palestinian state with security assurances for Israel. He will also discuss the recent increase in humanitarian assistance being delivered to Gaza and the importance of ensuring that the increase is sustained.

Despite months of talks mediated by Qatar and Egypt, Hamas and Israel have failed to reach an agreement on a ceasefire and hostage deal. Israel has warned Hamas that it will launch a ground invasion of the Rafah region in southern Gaza if at least 33 hostages are not freed immediately.

Why this matters: The ongoing conflict in Gaza has resulted in nearly 35,000 confirmed deaths and hundreds of thousands displaced, according to Palestinian health officials. Blinken's visit highlights the urgent need for a ceasefire and the release of hostages to prevent further escalation and humanitarian crisis in the region.

In addition to the Gaza ceasefire talks, Blinken will participate in a ministerial meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council to advance security coordination in the region. He will also attend the World Economic Forum's special meeting on Global Collaboration, Growth and Energy for Development, where he will coordinate with U.S. partners on climate change mitigation and the global energy shift.

The U.S. State Department has stated that it is Hamas that is standing in the way of a ceasefire and the release of the hostages. "Secretary Blinken will address ongoing efforts to achieve a ceasefire in Gaza that secures the release of hostages," said a State Department spokesperson. "It is Hamas that is standing in the way."

Key Takeaways

  • Blinken to visit Saudi Arabia on May 8-9, 2024 to discuss Gaza ceasefire, hostage release
  • Talks between Israel and Hamas remain deadlocked after 6+ months of conflict in Gaza
  • Blinken to stress preventing conflict spread, achieving lasting peace, independent Palestinian state
  • Israel warns Hamas of ground invasion if 33 hostages not freed immediately
  • U.S. blames Hamas for standing in the way of ceasefire and hostage release