Blinken welcomes 'hopeful' sign of Gaza ceasefire progress after Hamas signals support

US Secretary of State is on his eighth trip to the region since the war broke out

Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, is in the Middle East pushing for a ceasefire deal. AFP
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A statement of support from Hamas for a UN resolution backing a ceasefire in Gaza was a “hopeful” indication of progress, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Tuesday.

His comments came soon after a senior Hamas official told Reuters that the group supports a UN Security Council ceasefire resolution that was passed yesterday and is ready to discuss details.

Mr Blinken, on his eighth trip to the region since the war in Gaza broke out in October, was speaking after meetings with Israeli officials aimed at pushing for the ceasefire plan.

He said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had “reaffirmed his commitment” to a ceasefire proposal at a meeting on Monday.

Both warring parties will still have to overcome key sticking points, in particular Mr Netanyahu’s insistence that fighting in Gaza will end only when Israel has achieved its war aims.

Mr Blinken also met Israeli opposition politicians on Tuesday.

The office of former war cabinet minister Benny Gantz issued a statement in reference to Lebanon, saying “the [US] together with the international community have an important role to play in removing the threat posed by Hezbollah on Israel’s northern border”.

Fighting between Israel and Hezbollah has been steadily increasing in intensity and fears are mounting that a fully fledged war is nearing.

The statement added that Mr Gantz’s National Unity party “will support any responsible arrangement” to secure the release of Israeli hostages held in Gaza.

Mr Gantz urged Mr Blinken to apply “maximum pressure” on negotiators to reach a hostage release deal.

Mr Blinken also met opposition leader Yair Lapid.

Before arriving in Israel, the US Secretary of State met Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi in Cairo on Monday. Mr Blinken is set to travel to Jordan on Tuesday to attend a conference on the humanitarian response in Gaza.

Updated: June 11, 2024, 10:23 AM