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No breakthrough in Cairo talks; US pushes for “immediate” ceasefire in Gaza and release of hostages at UN

Diplomatic efforts to achieve a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip continue. The United States on Tuesday (March 5) revised the wording of a United Nations Security Council draft resolution to support “an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip for approximately six weeks and the release of all hostages.”

The media reports that the text of the third revised draft resolution uses the terms of US Vice President Kamala Harris. Harris called for an “immediate ceasefire” on Sunday and met with Israeli war cabinet member Benny Gantz at the White House on Monday to push for a six-week ceasefire between Israel and Kazakhstan in Gaza and the release of more Hamas prisoners hostage.

The United States said it planned to allow time for negotiations on its draft resolution and would not rush a vote.

Washington has previously opposed the use of the term “ceasefire,” and the draft proposed two weeks ago expressed support for a “temporary ceasefire.” The United States hopes the Security Council will combine support for a ceasefire with the release of hostages held by Hamas. According to Israeli statistics, Hamas’s attack on October 7 last year killed 1,200 people and took 253 people hostage.

During the five-month-long Israel-Hamas war, the United States vetoed three Security Council draft resolutions, two of which called for an immediate ceasefire. Last month, the U.S. vetoed a draft that did not link the ceasefire to the release of hostages. The U.S. defended its use of the veto, saying it could jeopardize multinational efforts to mediate a ceasefire and release hostages.

U.S. President Joe Biden warned on Tuesday that the situation would be very dangerous if the war continues into Ramadan. Whether there will be a new ceasefire in Gaza “is now in the hands of Hamas.”

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Cairo talks fail to achieve breakthrough

International mediation delegations and Hamas representatives recently held talks in Cairo in an attempt to suspend the war in Gaza before Eid al-Fitr. But Egyptian officials said Tuesday that talks had failed to achieve a breakthrough.

Egyptian officials said Hamas had made a proposal that mediators would discuss with Israel in the coming days. One of the officials said the mediators would meet Wednesday with Hamas representatives, who did not leave Cairo.

“We will not allow the path to negotiations while the aggression against our people and the war that causes hunger continue,” Hamas spokesman Osama Hamdan told a news conference in Beirut on Tuesday. Indefinitely.” He also said Hamas was seeking a permanent ceasefire and the complete withdrawal of Israel, not a temporary ceasefire of six weeks.

Amidst diplomatic efforts spanning weeks, the United States, Qatar, and Egypt have been engaged in negotiations aimed at brokering a complex agreement. This potential deal involves securing the release of approximately 40 hostages held by Hamas. In exchange, the proposal includes implementing a six-week ceasefire, facilitating the release of select Palestinian prisoners, and providing substantial humanitarian aid to the region.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has publicly rejected Hamas’s demands and has repeatedly stated that the war will continue until Hamas is disbanded and all hostages are returned. Israel boycotts ceasefire talks in Cairo.

An Israeli official said Israel was still waiting for Hamas to hand over a list of hostages still alive and the ratio of hostages to prisoners it sought in any release deal. It’s unclear whether that information is included in the latest proposal.

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The United States has traditionally supported Israel at the United Nations but has also abstained, allowing the Security Council to pass resolutions aimed at increasing aid to Gaza and calling for an extension to the ceasefire.

Israel launched military operations against the Gaza Strip in retaliation for a Hamas raid last October. According to Gaza authorities, more than 30,000 Palestinians have died, and thousands more bodies are in the rubble.

Washington has been increasing pressure on Israel to do more to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza. The United Nations has warned that a quarter of the Gaza Strip’s 2.3 million people are on the verge of famine.

As the international community calls for the United States to rein in its ally Israel, Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump expressed support for Israel’s war in Gaza on Tuesday in his clearest comments on the war.

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