Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in Prague, May 31, 2024. Photo by Chuck Kennedy U.S. State Department.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is set to arrive in Israel on Monday amid the Biden administration’s efforts to achieve a ceasefire in Gaza and avoid a wider war against Hezbollah in Lebanon.

It will be Blinken’s eighth visit to the Middle East region since the start of the Israel-Hamas war last October.

The top American diplomat will first visit Egypt on Monday, and will also stop in Jordan and Qatar during his visit to the region, which will wrap up on Wednesday.

In Cairo, he will meet with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, before meeting in Israel with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

“The Secretary will discuss with partners the need to reach a ceasefire agreement that secures the release of all hostages. He will emphasize the importance of Hamas accepting the proposal on the table, which is nearly identical to one Hamas endorsed last month,” according to a statement by State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller.

“The Secretary will discuss how the ceasefire proposal would benefit both Israelis and Palestinians. He will underscore that it would alleviate suffering in Gaza, enable a massive surge in humanitarian assistance, and allow Palestinians to return to their neighborhoods.

“It would unlock the possibility of achieving calm along Israel’s northern border—so both displaced Israeli and Lebanese families can return to their homes—and set the conditions for further integration between Israel and its Arab neighbors, strengthening Israel’s long-term security and improving stability across the region. The Secretary will also continue to reiterate the need to prevent the conflict from escalating further.”

While in Jordan, Blinken is scheduled to attend a conference on the humanitarian response to Gaza, co-hosted by Jordan, Egypt and the United Nations, according to the State Department.

Prior to his Mideast swing, Blinken accompanied President Joe Biden on his trip to Normandy and Paris, France for commemorations to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day and for a state visit. Blinken will also be with the president in Apulia, Italy from June 13-14 for the G7 Leaders’ Summit.


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