middle east

Blinken meets with Sisi, signals closer cooperation on Palestinian issue


US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Jordan Wednesday after meeting with Egyptian President Abdelfattah el-Sisi in Cairo.

Amman is the last leg of a Mideast tour that aims to shore up an Egypt-brokered ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza.

In Egypt, Blinken on Wednesday met with Sisi for nearly two hours, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and Egyptian intelligence head Abbas Kamel.

Egypt, which shares a border with Gaza and has security contacts with Hamas, is likely to have a role in channeling aid, a senior US State Department official said.

During the fighting, Egypt opened the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and its Sinai Peninsula in order to provide medical aid and evacuate the wounded.

Meeting with American diplomatic staff afterwards, he described Egypt as a “real and effective partner” that helped end the Gaza war and is helping “build something positive.” Sisi spoke to President Joe Biden last week before and after the ceasefire was announced.

“I think we both believe strongly that Palestinians and Israelis deserve equally to, to live in safety and security to enjoy equal measures of freedom, opportunity and dignity. And we’re working on that together,” Blinken said before departing to Jordan.

Both Egypt and Jordan are key US allies that have peace agreements with Israel and frequently serve as mediators between Israel and the Palestinians. Egypt maintains ties with Hamas, but also enforces a tight blockade on Gaza aimed at putting the brakes on the militant group’s armament drive.

The stop in Cairo, along with Biden’s phone talks with Sisi, signal a closer relationship between the two countries after a cooler beginning, when the US focused on Sisi’s human rights record.

After meeting Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi — whom he praised for helping bring an end to the intense violence “relatively quickly” — he departed for Jordan for talks with King Abdullah II.

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