US Submits Draft Resolution Calling for ‘Immediate Ceasefire’ in Gaza: Blinken

‘That would bring immediate relief to so many people who are suffering in Gaza–the children, the women, the men.’

The United States had submitted a draft resolution to the U.N. Security Council calling for an “immediate ceasefire” in Gaza in return for the release of hostages held by Hamas, Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said.

Mr. Blinken made the comments in an interview with Saudi broadcaster Al-Hadath in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on March 20.

The secretary of state is in Saudi Arabia as part of his official tour of the Middle East and had earlier met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to discuss the ongoing situation in Gaza, including the worsening humanitarian crisis, according to multiple reports.

Mr. Blinken was asked by Al-Hadath’s Christiane Baissary whether Washington is “carrying any more initiatives to end the bloodshed in Gaza,” to which the U.S. secretary of state said officials are “pressing” for an immediate ceasefire tied to the release of Israeli hostages.

“That would bring immediate relief to so many people who are suffering in Gaza–the children, the women, the men,” he said. “It would allow a much greater expansion of humanitarian assistance getting to them, and it could create the conditions to have a lasting, enduring ceasefire, which is also what we want to see. So that’s the urgency in this moment. That’s what we’re pressing with Qatar and Egypt working closely with us to try to get an agreement.”

Mr. Blinken was then asked how the United States is pressuring Israel while “still continuing supporting them financially and militarily” in their war with Hamas in Gaza.

Proposal ‘Sends Strong Message’

The reporter also highlighted Washington’s decision to veto a U.N. resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza last month.

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Responding to her questioning, Mr. Blinken said U.S. officials have put forward a resolution to the U.N. Security Council that “does call for an immediate ceasefire tied to the release of hostages, and we hope very much that countries will support that.”

Mr. Blinken did not state when the resolution would be brought for a vote. However, the senior Biden administration official said he believes the proposal will “send a strong message, a strong signal.”

Still, the secretary of state stressed that the United States has unwavering support for Israel, including its right to defend itself, in the wake of the Oct. 7 incursion by Hamas into Israel.

“At the same time, it’s imperative that the civilians who are in harm’s way and who are suffering so terribly–that we focus on them, that we make them a priority, protecting the civilians, getting them humanitarian assistance,” Mr. Blinken said. “We’ve been leading the effort to do that, to get more in, to get more to the people who need it. We are pressing on that as hard as we can.”

Asked whether a ceasefire was possible in the near future despite several rounds of failed negotiations regarding the matter, Mr. Blinken said, “It’s getting closer” and “the gaps are narrowing” before blaming Hamas for failing to accept previous proposals.

Israeli army tanks inside Gaza City on Feb. 8, 2024. (Photo by JACK GUEZ / AFP)
Israeli army tanks inside Gaza City on Feb. 8, 2024. (Photo by JACK GUEZ / AFP)

Blinken Urges Hamas to Accept Ceasefire Agreement

The Biden administration official touted Washington’s “hard work” with Qatar, Egypt, and Israel to get a strong proposal on the table but said Hamas declined to accept it and instead came back with other requests and demands.

“Of course, if Hamas cares at all about the people it purports to represent, then it would reach an agreement, because that would have the immediate effect of a ceasefire, alleviating the tremendous suffering of people, bringing more humanitarian assistance in, and then giving us the possibility of having something more lasting,” Mr. Blinken said.

“The quickest path to ending that is getting this immediate ceasefire with the release of hostages. Then a lot more becomes possible,” he added.

Mr. Blinken’s comments come after President Joe Biden last month said he was confident a ceasefire in Gaza could be reached ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, but the U.S. president later backtracked on the comments.

Approximately 134 hostages remain in Israel, among them soldiers and civilians, according to its government.

According to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry, more than 31,000 people have died in Gaza since the conflict broke out in October.

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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