Blinken rebuffs Arab states’ push for immediate Gaza ceasefire

AMMAN: Arab leaders have urged an immediate ceasefire in Israel’s military offensive in Gaza, pressing US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to convince Israel, but the top US diplomat said such a halt right now would only allow Hamas to regroup and attack Israel again.

In a rare public disagreement at a news conference in Amman, foreign ministers of Jordan and Egypt, standing alongside Blinken, repeatedly pushed for a cessation of hostilities, saying the death of thousands of civilians could not be justified as self-defence.

“A ceasefire now would simply leave Hamas in place, able to regroup and repeat what it did on October 7,” Blinken said.

“No nation, none of us would accept that … So it is important to reaffirm Israel’s right and its obligation to defend itself.”

Middle East powers should maintain their push to de-escalate the region through trade and economic ties despite the Gaza conflict, a senior United Arab Emirates official has said, AFP reports.

According to UAE presidential adviser Anwar Gargash, countries should maintain that strategy even though the conflict is sending shockwaves through the region.

“National actors are basically trying to use economics as a way to de-escalate tension,” Gargash told the World Policy Conference in Abu Dhabi. “I think there is no reason why we should also veer away from that course of action.”

He added: “I think the other message is also [that] national plans have to move on. I don’t think that national plans have to be on pause, because there will always be a major regional issue that will surprise us.”

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