US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will pay his third wartime visit to the Middle East this week, a US official said Monday, just as mediators announced an extension of a truce in Gaza.
Blinken will also head this week to Dubai to represent the United States at the COP28 climate summit, which President Joe Biden is skipping after two previous years of attending to highlight US leadership.
A senior US official, speaking as Blinken arrived in Brussels for NATO meetings, said the top US diplomat would meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv and with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas in Ramallah.
“In his meetings in the Middle East, the secretary will stress the need to sustain the increased flow of humanitarian assistance to Gaza, secure the release of all hostages and improve protection to civilians in Gaza,” the official said.
“The secretary will discuss with partners in the region the principles he laid out for the future of Gaza and the need to establish an independent Palestinian state,” the official said.
The trip comes as mediator Qatar announced a 48-hour extension of a truce between Israel and Hamas, opening the way for further releases of hostages and the arrival of humanitarian aid into the war-battered Gaza Strip.
There was no immediate confirmation from Israel, which has vowed to keep up the fight to destroy Hamas.