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Progress in Gaza Ceasefire Negotiations: Diplomatic Efforts by US and French Ministers in the Middle East

Gaza Ceasefire Negotiations

The foreign ministers of the United States and France jointly visited the Middle East to urge progress in ceasefire negotiations in Gaza

WASHINGTON — French Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken are in Saudi Arabia working towards negotiating a ceasefire in Gaza amidst the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. Progress is being made in the discussions, focusing on hostages, the humanitarian situation, and the ceasefire.

Both diplomats are engaging with various officials to address the humanitarian crisis, create space for a lasting solution, and work towards de-escalation in Gaza. Meanwhile, Hamas leaders are preparing to meet with Egyptian and Qatari mediators in Cairo to discuss their response to a ceasefire proposal, with a positive atmosphere unless new obstacles arise on the Israeli side.

Key Concepts

  • French and US diplomats are in Saudi Arabia negotiating a ceasefire in Gaza.
  • Discussions are focusing on hostages, the humanitarian situation, and the ceasefire.
  • Progress is being made in the negotiations, with a focus on de-escalation and aid delivery in Gaza.
  • The importance of implementing a ceasefire to address the humanitarian crisis and create space for a lasting solution is emphasized.
  • Talks with Hamas leaders for a ceasefire are being prepared by Egyptian and Qatari mediators in Cairo.
  • At least 20 Palestinians were killed in an Israeli airstrike in Rafah.
  • The Hamas delegation will meet with Egyptian and Qatari mediators in Cairo to discuss their response to a ceasefire proposal.
  • The conflict began with a surprise attack by Hamas militants on Israel last year, leading to casualties and hostages.
  • Israel retaliated with a blockade, air strikes, and ground attacks, resulting in a humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
  • Jordan’s Prime Minister emphasized the importance of implementing a two-state solution to avoid further conflicts in the region.

French Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne said on Monday (April 29) that negotiations to implement a ceasefire in Gaza are making progress.

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He made the remarks as he, like U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, visited Saudi Arabia to make diplomatic efforts to de-escalate the Israel-Kazakhstan war.

Reuters reported that Sejournay will hold talks in the riad with Arab and other Western ministers, as well as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

“The situation in Gaza is catastrophic and we need a ceasefire,” Sejourne told Reuters on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF).

“We will discuss hostages, the humanitarian situation, and the ceasefire. Things are progressing, but we always have to be cautious in these discussions and negotiations,” Reuters quoted Sejourne as saying.

Blinken arrived in Saudi Arabia on Monday, the first stop on his Middle East tour.

In his opening remarks at a meeting with Gulf Arab officials, Blinken said the most effective way to resolve the humanitarian crisis and create space for a lasting solution was to implement a ceasefire and allow Hamas to release hostages.

“We also need to get more aid into Gaza and its surrounding areas. We need to improve the protection of humanitarian workers from conflict. We need greater efficiency and greater security, and avoiding conflict is key to all of this. ,” Reuters quoted Blinken as saying.

Reuters quoted a senior US State Department official as saying that Blinken is expected to discuss the governance model of Gaza after the end of the Israel-Kazakhstan war with Arab foreign ministers in Riyadh.

Blinken is also expected to sit down with Arab and European officials to discuss post-war reconstruction efforts in Gaza.

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Jordanian Prime Minister Bisher Khasawneh said all parties must find a way forward by implementing a two-state solution to the conflict; otherwise, there is a risk of another catastrophe in the Middle East.

“What we must face is finding an irreversible path to realize the two-state solution so that we will not fall into the current predicament after two years and drag the entire region and even the entire world into greater tensions, endangering global peace and security,” Khasawneh said in a speech at the World Economic Forum.

Reuters quoted medical staff as saying that at least 20 Palestinians were killed and many others injured in an Israeli airstrike on three houses in the southern Gaza city of Rafah on Monday. Meanwhile, Egyptian and Qatari mediators are preparing for a new round of ceasefire talks with Hamas leaders in Cairo.

According to reports, a delegation led by senior Hamas leader Khalil Haya will meet with Egyptian and Qatari mediators in Cairo on Monday to convey Hamas’s formal response to the ceasefire proposal.

Agence France-Presse quoted an unnamed Hamas official as saying that Hamas had no major problems with the latest hostage release and Gaza ceasefire draft agreement. “The atmosphere is positive” unless there are “new obstacles” on the Israeli side.

Hamas militants launched a surprise attack on Israel on October 7 last year. According to Israeli statistics, they killed 1,200 people and kidnapped 253 people in Gaza as hostages. In retaliation, Israel imposed a full blockade on Gaza and launched large-scale air strikes and ground attacks on Gaza. According to health authorities in Hamas-controlled Gaza, more than 34,000 Palestinians have been killed in the Israeli war.

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As the Israeli air and ground offensive intensifies, most buildings in Gaza have been destroyed, and the Palestinians in Gaza have also fallen into a humanitarian crisis with a severe lack of medicine and food.

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