Saudi Foreign Minister meets with Blinken in Cairo to discuss Gaza situation

Arab ministers had discussions with a Palestinian official in Cairo on Thursday to address efforts to end the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza. They were scheduled to meet US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in an attempt to secure a ceasefire lasting at least six weeks.

The ministers engaged with Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) executive committee general secretary Hussein al-Sheikh to talk about “efforts to halt the Israeli war against Gaza, the necessity of achieving a ceasefire, and ensuring full access to aid,” stated the Egyptian foreign ministry’s spokesperson.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken steps out of a car as he departs Jeddah for Cairo, Egypt, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia March 21, 2024. (credit: REUTERS/EVELYN HOCKSTEIN)

Blinken was also set to meet with Sheikh – a close associate of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and a mediator in communications with Israel – alongside the foreign ministers of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates state minister for international cooperation, as per an Egyptian foreign ministry communication.

Gaza administration discussions and diplomatic endeavors

Abbas’s Palestinian Authority, which has partial authority over the occupied West Bank, may have a role in governing Gaza once the conflict ceases. However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has strongly opposed this idea.

Blinken had previously met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to deliberate on the negotiations for a prompt ceasefire in the conflict, now in its sixth month, and the release of all hostages seized by Hamas. This Palestinian militant group controls Gaza, as indicated by State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller.

They also broached the topic of establishing an autonomous Palestinian state with security assurances for Israel. Blinken also convened with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan on Wednesday.