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Updated January 9th, 2024 at 17:02 IST

Establishing Palestinian state imperative for regional stability: Blinken in Saudi Arabia

'Virtually at every stop, there was a willingness of all of the countries involved to do important things to help Gaza stabilize and revitalize," Blinken says.

Reported by: Zaini Majeed
Blinken
US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, urgent Mideast mission aimed primarily at preventing the conflict from spreading. | Image:AP
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US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, during his Middle East tour, said that the establishment of a Palestinian state is imperative to the stability of the Middle East region. In his remarks made in Saudi Arabia, Blinken said, “I can tell you this:  There’s a clear interest here in pursuing that; there’s a clear interest in the region in pursuing that. But it will require that the conflict end in Gaza, and it will also clearly require that there be a practical pathway to a Palestinian state.”

Blinken stressed that during his visit to the Middle East focused on efforts to deter the Israel Hamas war from spilling into a broader regional conflict, he found that virtually at every stop, there was a “willingness of all of the countries involved to do important things to help Gaza stabilize and revitalize.”

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Wrapped day 3 of a trip that has taken us thus far to Türkiye, Greece, Jordan, Qatar, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia.

Everywhere I went, I found leaders who are determined to prevent the conflict from spreading. We laid out a few basic objectives and agreed to work together on them. pic.twitter.com/OPbRoUinv0

— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) January 9, 2024

“With regard to integration, to normalization, yes, we talked about that actually on every stop, including of course here in Saudi Arabia,” US Secretary of State told reporters. Blinken pressed on the two state solution as the only way to maintain peace and stability in the tumultuous middle east. “One of the things that we’re going to be working on together is just what that would require, and just what countries specifically are prepared to do,” he remarked. “This interest is there, it’s real, and it could be transformative,” he added.

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U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, left, meets with Qatar's Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, right, at Lusail Palace in
Lusail, Qatar, Sunday, Jan. 7,2024, during Blinken’s week-long trip aimed at calming tensions across the Middle East. (Evelyn Hockstein/Poo! photo via AP)

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and I met today in Al ‘Ula and discussed the importance of urgently addressing humanitarian needs in Gaza and preventing further spread of the conflict. pic.twitter.com/hHp3rml4Uq

— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) January 8, 2024

War escalating ‘clearly not in the interest of anyone’: Blinken

With regard to the hostilities flaring on the Israel and Lebanon border, Blinken said, that it is “clearly not in the interest of anyone – Israel, Lebanon, Hezballah for that matter – to see this escalate and to see an actual conflict.” He added that the Israelis have also been very clear that “they want to find a diplomatic way forward” to the ongoing war.

Blinken remarked on the attacks on the international commercial vessels in the Red Sea by the Yemeni militants Houthis, in a show of support for the Palestine’s Hamas. “The international community as a whole faces a challenge,” said Blinken, adding that the attacks by the Houthis on international shipping must cease, and that they are a threat to all the countries of the world. “You’ve got about 15 percent of the world’s commerce every day going through that strait, going through the Red Sea.  And these attacks are having a real effect on the prices that people have to pay for food, for medicine, for energy.  Ships have to get diverted to other places, insurance rates go up, and the basic principle of freedom of navigation is what’s at stake,” said Blinken.

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US Secretary of State concluded his third day of the Middle East tour that included Türkiye, Greece, Jordan, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.  His visit is aimed at US’ determination to prevent the conflict from spreading and deter an escalation.

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Published January 9th, 2024 at 17:02 IST

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