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Qatar says Hamas 'positive' on deal, Blinken to raise with Israel

Hamas says hands response to Gaza truce deal to Egypt, Qatar; Blinken to bring Hamas reply to Israel, calls deal 'essential'; Saudi crown prince reiterated 'strong interest' in Israel ties: Blinken

By AFP

February 6, 2024 10:51 PM


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Qatar said Tuesday that Hamas has delivered a "positive" response to a proposal to free hostages in return for pausing the Gaza war, which US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will take to Israel.

"We have received a reply from Hamas with regards to the general framework of the agreement with regards to hostages. The reply includes some comments, but in general it is positive," Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said after meeting Blinken in Doha.

The Qatari prime minister -- who took part in talks a week ago in Paris with Israel, Egypt and the CIA that came up with the proposal -- said he was "optimistic" but declined to discuss the Hamas reply in detail, citing the "sensitivity of the circumstances".

Hamas confirmed that it submitted its response to Egypt and Qatar.

Blinken, on his fifth tour of the region, said that he would discuss the proposal on Wednesday in Israel, where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has faced pressure from hardliners against perceived concessions to Hamas.

"There's still a lot of work to be done. But we continue to believe that an agreement is possible and indeed essential, and we will continue to work relentlessly to achieve it," Blinken said.

Blinken said that the deal "offers the prospect of extended calm, hostages out, more assistance in".

"That would clearly be beneficial to everyone, and I think that offers the best path forward," Blinken said.

Hamas says hands response to Gaza truce deal to Egypt, Qatar

Gaza rulers Hamas said Tuesday it handed its response on a truce deal aimed at halting the war with Israel to key mediators.

"A short while ago, the Hamas movement delivered its response to the framework agreement to the brothers in Qatar and Egypt," a statement said, referring to "a comprehensive and full ceasefire".

Blinken to bring Hamas reply to Israel, calls deal 'essential'

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he would bring a response from Hamas on a hostage deal to Israel on Wednesday and called it "essential" to move ahead.

"There's still a lot of work to be done. But we continue to believe that an agreement is possible and indeed essential, and we will continue to work relentlessly to achieve it," Blinken told reporters in Doha on Tuesday after being informed of the reply by Qatar.

Saudi crown prince reiterated 'strong interest' in Israel ties: Blinken

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tuesday that Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler reiterated an interest in ties with Israel but wants an end to the Gaza conflict and a pathway to a Palestinian state.

"With regard specifically to normalisation, the crown prince reiterated Saudi Arabia's strong interest in pursuing that," Blinken told reporters in Doha a day after their meeting in Riyadh.

"But he also made clear what he had said to me before, which is that in order to do that, two things will be required -- an end to the conflict in Gaza, and a clear, credible timebound path to the establishment of a Palestinian state."


AFP


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