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Monday, March 4, 2024

Blinken extends Middle East tour, returns to Israel Monday

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will extend his Middle East diplomatic tour by returning to Israel on Monday, amid concerns about a potential Israeli ground offensive in Gaza. Israel is determined to retaliate against Hamas following a recent violent attack by its militants on Israeli towns.

Blinken, who arrived in Israel on Thursday and has already visited six Arab nations, is currently in Egypt, where he is scheduled to meet with President Abdel Fatah Al Sisi. The United States is increasingly concerned about the conflict spreading across the region and has urged Iran to refrain from involvement. Blinken is seeking the support of Arab allies and China, which has influence over Iran, to contain the situation.

However, Iran issued a warning of “far-reaching consequences” if Israel’s bombardment doesn’t cease. Before heading to Cairo, Blinken had a productive meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. During the meeting, the Saudi crown prince emphasized the importance of finding a peaceful resolution, respecting international law, and ending the Israeli blockade on Gaza. The meeting lasted for just under an hour and took place at the crown prince’s private farm residence.

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