US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Jordan on Wednesday during the final stages of a Middle East tour for a meeting with King Abdullah to confirm the ceasefire agreement between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip.
Blinken arrived in Jordan, where half the population of ten million is of Palestinian origin, after meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi and Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry in Cairo earlier in the day.
Egypt was heavily involved in achieving the ceasefire in the recent conflict.
His visit to Jordan and Egypt comes one day after he expressed support for Israel’s security and the announcement of aid for reconstruction for Gaza.
“As you know, Egypt has played a critical role in mediating the ceasefire, and Jordan has long been a voice for peace and stability in the region,” Blinken told reporters on Tuesday.
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Blinken began Wednesday’s meeting with Israeli President Reuben Rivlin and concluded the first stages of his first trip to the Middle East since becoming the top U.S. diplomat.
“Secretary and President Rivlin discussed ways to promote coexistence and tolerance among all citizens of Israel regardless of heritage or background,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Ned Price said in a statement. “They reaffirmed the importance of the steadfast partnership between the United States and Israel and the need to promote peace and stability for all.”
Price also said Blinken had invited Rivlin to visit the United States in the coming weeks.
After talks in Ramallah on Tuesday with Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, Blinken said he would ask the US Congress for $ 75 million in aid for Palestinians in Gaza.
“We know that the last round of violence is symptomatic of a greater number of issues that we need to address if we are to prevent its recurrence, and that is what we talked about today,” Blinken said. “We welcome the ceasefire that continues, but it is not enough. We must build on the ceasefire and try to move things in a really positive direction.”
Blinken also reiterated on Tuesday that the Biden government’s belief that a ‘two-state solution’ is the only way to truly secure Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state. And of course to give the Palestinians the state to which they are entitled. “
The top US diplomat said the United States would reopen its consulate in Jerusalem after the Trump administration closed it in 2019 and would provide $ 5.5 million in immediate disaster relief and more than $ 32 million for a United States emergency relief campaign Nations.
Blinken said the reopening of the consulate “is an important way for our country to deal with and support the Palestinian people.”
Of the US-designated terrorist group that controls Gaza, Blinken said: “We will work to ensure that Hamas does not benefit from these reconstruction efforts.”
Earlier in the day, the secretary of state emphasized Israel’s right to defend itself when it visited Jerusalem as part of an effort to build on a ceasefire.
Blinken, along with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said that both Israel and the Palestinians had suffered “huge” losses during the fighting, and that much work lay ahead to restore hope, respect and trust.
“Victims are often reduced to numbers, but behind each number is an individual – a daughter, a son, a father, a mother, a grandparent, a best friend,” Blinken said. as the Talmud teaches, to lose a life is to lose the whole world, whether Palestinian or Israeli. “
Blinken also pledged aid to expand economic opportunities for Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, saying it would provide a more stable environment that would benefit both Palestinians and Israelis.
Netanyahu thanked the United States for their support, while warning the militants to maintain a ceasefire.
“If Hamas breaks the calm and attacks Israel, our response will be very strong,” he said.