Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken met with leaders in Egypt and Qatar on Tuesday, the second day of a Middle East tour aimed at preventing an exchange of attacks with Iran-backed militias from spiraling into a broader regional war and to rally allies around a proposed cease-fire agreement for Gaza.
Mr. Blinken, on his fifth trip to the region since the Oct. 7 attacks in Israel, visited Cairo to meet with President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt before traveling to Doha for discussions with Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, the emir of Qatar, and Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim al-Thani, the country’s prime minister and foreign minister.
Mr. Blinken began the trip a day before by meeting in Saudi Arabia with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, discussing how to achieve “an enduring end to the crisis in Gaza,” as well as the need to reduce tensions across the region, according to Mr. Miller. He is also scheduled to hold meetings with leaders in Israel and the West Bank during the trip. All are key players in negotiations over a potential pause in the fighting in Gaza.
Egyptian and Qatari mediators have presented Hamas with a proposal, backed by the United States and Israel, that would pause the fighting between Israel and Hamas for the first time since a one-week cease-fire in November during which more than 100 hostages were freed.
The Biden administration and its Arab allies are still awaiting a response from Hamas to a framework for the deal, which would involve the exchange of more than 100 additional hostages held in Gaza for a pause in fighting and the release of Palestinians detained in Israeli jails. Mr. Blinken and Mr. el-Sisi also discussed that proposal during the meeting on Tuesday.
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