Blinken from Cairo: Gaza cannot be reoccupied nor its population displaced

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said on Thursday that the United States continues to press for an agreement to release the hostages and a ceasefire in the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, amid ongoing talks in Doha.

Blinken added in a press conference with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry in Cairo that there is still difficult work to reach an agreement, but “I still believe it is possible.”

Blinken also said that Israel still needs to do more to allow humanitarian aid to reach Gaza, adding: “Gaza cannot be reoccupied by Israel and the people of Gaza cannot be displaced.”

Blinken stressed that there is a consensus between Arab allies and America on the need for an immediate and sustainable ceasefire, adding: “I agreed with Arab leaders to seek the assistance of experts to determine urgent steps in the coming days to increase aid.”

Blinken stressed that Israel needs to make more efforts regarding delivering aid to Gaza.

Blinken considered that any major military operation by Israel in the city of Rafah in the far south of the destroyed Gaza Strip would be a “mistake.”

Blinken said that the ground operation to invade Rafah that Israel threatens is “not necessary,” noting that “there is a better way to deal with the continuing threat posed by Hamas.”

Regarding the possibility of reaching a normalization agreement between Saudi Arabia and Israel, Blinken said: Progress in this area is “good and approaching a point of agreement.”

Blinken explained that his visit to the Kingdom on Wednesday included “very good consultations” with Saudi leaders about rapprochement in relations between the two countries, noting that he could not “set a time frame for that,” and that the discussions were “approaching the point of reaching agreements.”

Blinken also touched on the internal Palestinian situation, noting that “some initial steps have been taken to reform the Palestinian Authority, and there is a need to do more.”

Blinken said: “If the Palestinian Authority seeks reform, the region will support it.”

In turn, the Egyptian Foreign Minister said that he agreed with his American counterpart to plan concrete steps to increase aid directed to the Gaza Strip and to continue coordination.

On the other hand, the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that a number of Arab foreign ministers and a Palestinian official briefed US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken during a meeting in Cairo about their vision of the current situation in Gaza and the necessity of a ceasefire and reaching a political settlement to the conflict through implementing the two-state solution.

The statement stated that the meeting with Blinken included the foreign ministers of Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation, and the Secretary of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Blinken met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi in Cairo as part of talks aimed at a ceasefire in Gaza.

Talks aimed at a ceasefire resumed in Qatar this week, which focused on a truce lasting about six weeks that would allow the release of 40 Israeli detainees in exchange for the release of hundreds of Palestinians detained in Israeli prisons.

Blinken also met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan in the Kingdom yesterday, Wednesday.

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