Arab foreign ministers to meet Blinken in Cairo


Arab foreign ministers and a top Palestinian official will meet US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Cairo on Thursday as he pushes for a pause in fighting between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip during his latest tour of the region.

Blinken will meet foreign ministers from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Jordan, and the general secretary of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation's (PLO) executive committee, according to an Egyptian foreign ministry note.

The note did not give details on the subject of the meeting, but Egyptian security sources said Arab nations will stress the urgency of developing plans for a political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Such plans had been put on hold as mediators from Qatar, Egypt and the US sought to secure a deal for a ceasefire in Gaza and for the release of Israeli hostages and Palestinian prisoners.

Blinken has said he would pursue conversations on arrangements for the governance, security and redevelopment of post-conflict Gaza, and for lasting regional peace during his tour.

The PLO executive committee general secretary, Hussein al-Sheikh, is a top official in the Palestinian Authority and a confidant of its president Mahmoud Abbas as well as an intermediary with Israel.

The PA, which exercises limited governance in the occupied West Bank, may play a key role in administering Gaza once fighting ends, though Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has expressed strong opposition to its involvement in running the enclave.

Talks for a ceasefire deal continued in Qatar this week following failed attempts to secure an agreement ahead of start of Ramadan.

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