The head of US diplomacy, Antony Blinken, will tour the Middle East “in the coming days,” as he confirmed via Twitter, a few hours after the ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip entered into force to halt eleven days of bloodshed.
“I will travel to the region in the coming days and look forward to meeting Foreign Minister (of Israel, Gabi Ashkenazi) and other Israeli, Palestinian, and regional leaders,” Antony Blinken said in a post on social media.
The meetings will be aimed at the US Secretary of State and his interlocutors “work together to build better futures for Israelis and Palestinians,” the State Department said in a statement.
I will be traveling to the region in the coming days and look forward to meeting the Foreign Minister and other Israeli, Palestinian, and regional leaders.
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) May 21, 2021
Antony Blinken spoke with his Israeli counterpart –they already had a meeting with Gabby Ashkenazi earlier yesterday– and “welcomed” the ceasefire agreement, he said.
In their discussion, the two foreign ministers “expressed their gratitude for Egypt’s efforts and mediation,” the role of which was also praised by US President Joe Biden in his speech by the White House.
Earlier in the day, Antony Blinken said he was prepared to go to the region “if that would serve the purpose of moving beyond the violence” “at any time” during a visit to Greenland as part of an Arctic tour.
The ceasefire between Israel and Hamas was officially implemented at 02:00 (local time), after eleven days of hostilities, the deadliest since the 2014 war.
The deal was facilitated by Egypt, a regional power with ties to both Israel and Hamas, the ruling Islamist group in the Gaza Strip, described as a “terrorist” organization by the Jewish State, the United States and the European Union.
Joe Biden called the ceasefire “a genuine opportunity” to make progress towards peace in the Middle East.