US continues push for Gaza ceasefire, peace deal in Israel visit

by IANS |

Tel Aviv, June 11 (IANS/DPA) US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met Israeli President Isaac Herzog on Tuesday as part of ongoing efforts by the US, Qatar and Egypt to negotiate a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

The talks have stalled for months. Blinken's trip in the Middle East aims to garner support for the latest proposal for a ceasefire in three phases.

On Monday in New York, the UN Security Council gave its backing to the multi-stage plan presented by US President Joe Biden.

According to the US, only the Palestinian Islamist Hamas movement has not yet agreed to the plan. However, the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not given clear and public approval to the plan either.

Blinken arrived in Egypt on Monday for the first leg of the tour and later held talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.

He told Netanyahu that "the United States and other world leaders will stand behind the comprehensive proposal outlined by President Biden," according to a statement issued by the US State Department.

Blinken "updated the prime minister on ongoing diplomatic efforts to plan for the post-conflict period," the statement said.

On Tuesday, Blinken also met opposition leader Yair Lapid and is due to hold talks with Israeli lawmaker Benny Gantz, who just quit the Israeli emergency government formed following the October 7 attacks.

Blinken's Middle East tour is expected to last until Wednesday and also includes a stop in Qatar.

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