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US State Secretary Blinken to travel to Saudi Arabia next week

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WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will visit Saudi Arabia on Monday and Tuesday to meet with regional partners and discuss efforts to achieve a ceasefire in Gaza and the release of Israeli hostages, the State Department said on Saturday (Apr 27).

“He will discuss the recent increase in humanitarian assistance being delivered to Gaza and underscore the importance of ensuring that increase is sustained,” the State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said in statement.

“The Secretary will also emphasize the importance of preventing the conflict from spreading and discuss ongoing efforts to achieve lasting peace and security in the region, including through a pathway to an independent Palestinian state with security guarantees for Israel.”

Blinken is not scheduled to visit Israel on this trip. War began in Gaza after Hamas fighters crossed into Israel on Oct 7, killing 1,200 people and capturing 253 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.

Nearly 32,000 people have been confirmed killed in Israel’s retaliatory onslaught, according to Palestinian health officials in Hamas-run Gaza, with thousands more feared lost under the rubble.

During his two-day visit, Blinken will participate in a ministerial meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council, working to advance security coordination in the region, Miller said.

Blinken will also attend the World Economic Forum’s special meeting on Global Collaboration, Growth and Energy for Development, where he will coordinate with US partners “to ensure continued progress on climate change mitigation and the global energy transition,” Miller added.

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