Blinken to Visit Israel, PA, UAE This Week

Brussels (Reuters) —
Secretary of State Antony Blinken disembarks from an airplane upon arrival at Brussels Airport, in Brussels, Belgium, on Monday, as he travels to a NATO foreign ministers’ meeting. (SAUL LOEB/Pool via REUTERS)

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will visit Israel and the United Arab Emirates this week, the U.S. State Department said on Monday, as Washington aims to press for more humanitarian aid for Gaza and to help secure the release of all hostages kidnapped by Hamas.

Blinken will travel to Belgium, North Macedonia, Israel, the PA, and the UAE from Monday to Saturday, the department said in a statement.

“Secretary Blinken will discuss Israel’s right to defend itself consistent with international humanitarian law, as well as continued efforts to secure the release of remaining hostages, protect civilian life during Israel’s operations in Gaza, and accelerate humanitarian assistance to civilians in Gaza,” the department added.

Blinken will discuss what Washington wants to see in Gaza if Israel is able to eliminate Hamas, a State Department official said earlier. Blinken will also discuss the need for an independent Palestinian state, as well as attend the U.N. COP28 climate summit in Dubai, according to the State Department.

It will be his third trip to the region since Oct. 7.

Blinken ruled out Israeli occupation of Gaza, permanent displacement of its people, and reduction in its territory, although a clear plan has yet to emerge in talks with Arab states, Israel, and Palestinian leaders.

The top U.S. diplomat “will also discuss the principles he outlined in Tokyo on November 8, [and] tangible steps to further the creation of a future Palestinian state,” the State Department said.

Blinken landed on Monday evening in Brussels, where he will attend the NATO foreign ministers’ summit on Tuesday. He will be attending a meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe that is scheduled to take place on Wednesday in Skopje.

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