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Blinken to return to Middle East in diplomatic blitz to end Gaza war

Washington's top diplomat heads to Israel, Egypt, Jordan and Qatar next week as the Biden administration pressures Hamas and Israel to agree to a last-ditch cease-fire proposal to end the war and defuse a volatile border escalation between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L) addresses the media prior to a meeting of NATO foreign ministers at the Czernin Palace, in Prague, Czech Republic, on May 31, 2024.

WASHINGTON – The United States' top diplomat will head back to the Middle East next week as the Biden administration pushes for a cease-fire agreement in a bid to end the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who is currently accompanying President Joe Biden at D-Day commemoration ceremonies in France, will head to Egypt on Monday before continuing on to Israel, Jordan and Qatar, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said in press release Friday.

"The secretary will discuss with partners the need to reach a ceasefire agreement that secures the release of all hostages," Miller's statement read. "He will emphasize the importance of Hamas accepting the proposal on the table, which is nearly identical to one Hamas endorsed last month."

Blinken's trip comes as the Biden administration has struggled to convince Israeli leaders and Hamas to move forward with a last-ditch cease-fire proposal that, if accepted and abided by both sides in full, would lead to a release of all hostages held by Hamas and an Israeli military withdrawal from Gaza.

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