Egyptian, US foreign ministers discuss Gaza cease-fire prospects amid ongoing talks

Egyptian, US foreign ministers discuss Gaza cease-fire prospects amid ongoing talks

Top diplomats focus on ongoing efforts to mediate cease-fire, facilitate exchange of prisoners between Israel, Hamas

By Ibrahim Al-Khazen

CAIRO (AA) - Egyptian Foreign Minister Badr Abdelatty and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken explored over phone the opportunities for a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip, said Cairo on Tuesday.

The discussion coincided with ongoing negotiations in Cairo and Doha regarding a potential truce deal and prisoner exchange between Hamas and Israel.

According to a statement by the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, both top diplomats “focused on the ongoing efforts to mediate a cease-fire and facilitate the exchange of prisoners and humanitarian aid access to the Gaza Strip.”

A US delegation, led by CIA Director William Burns, arrived in Cairo on Monday to engage with the Egyptian security team in a fresh round of cease-fire negotiations for Gaza, a high-level source to the Cairo News Channel reported.

For months, American, Qatari, and Egyptian mediation efforts have aimed to broker an agreement between Israel and Hamas. However, these efforts have faced obstacles due to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s refusal to comply with Hamas’ demands for a cessation of hostilities.

Flouting a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire, Israel has faced international condemnation amid its continued brutal offensive on Gaza since an Oct. 7, 2023 attack by Palestinian group Hamas.

More than 38,200 Palestinians have since been killed, mostly women and children, and over 88,000 others injured, according to local health authorities.

Nine months into the Israeli war, vast tracts of Gaza lie in ruins amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water, and medicine.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice, whose latest ruling ordered it to immediately halt its military operation in the southern city of Rafah, where over a million Palestinians had sought refuge from the war before it was invaded on May 6.

*Writing by Mohammad Sio

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