• Thursday, Dec 09, 2021
  • Last Update : 12:42 am

Blinken in Jordan on Mideast tour to shore up Gaza truce

  • Published at 05:32 pm May 26th, 2021
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken Israel
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is greeted by Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, upon arrival at Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport, in Tel Aviv, Israel May 25, 2021 Reuters

After meeting with Netanyahu, he reiterated support for Israel's right to defend itself against rocket attacks by Gaza's Hamas rulers

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken landed in Jordan on Wednesday on the last leg of a Mideast tour that aims to shore up an Egypt-brokered ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza.

After meeting Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi -- whom he praised for helping bring an end to the intense violence "relatively quickly" -- he flew to Jordan, where half of the 10 million-strong population is of Palestinian origin.

Blinken will meet King Abdullah II, following two-days of regional talks -- including with both Israeli and Palestinian leaders -- to throw Washington's support behind the truce that ended 11 days of heavy Israeli bombing of Gaza and rocket fire from the enclave into Israel.

Following talks with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas at his headquarters in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Blinken vowed to rebuild US relations with the Palestinians by reopening a consulate in Jerusalem, as well as give millions in aid for the war-battered Gaza Strip.

The announcements signalled a break with US policy under former president Donald Trump, who had shuttered the diplomatic mission for Palestinians in 2019 and slashed aid to the Palestinian Authority.

In the long term, Blinken evoked the "possibility of resuming the effort to achieve a two-state solution, which we continue to believe is the only way to truly assure Israel's future as a Jewish and democratic state, and of course to give the Palestinians the state they're entitled to."

After meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he reiterated support for Israel's right to defend itself against rocket attacks by Gaza's Hamas rulers, adding that they must not benefit from the reconstruction aid.

Rebuilding Gaza

On Wednesday, after meeting with Sisi, Blinken later said that both "believe strongly that Palestinians and Israelis deserve equally to live in safety and security," and that "Egypt is vital to these aspirations."

Unlike the United States and many European governments, which boycott Hamas as a terror group, Egypt maintains regular contacts.

Egypt was also the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel in 1979, with Jordan following suit in 1994.

Cairo has sent delegations to both Tel Aviv and Gaza to watch over the implementation of the ceasefire, and has also been coordinating international relief and reconstruction aid for the enclave, which has been under Israeli blockade for nearly 15 years.

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