Qatar’s emir meets with Blinken, calls for immediate cease-fire in Gaza

Qatar’s emir meets with Blinken, calls for immediate cease-fire in Gaza

US secretary of state visits Gulf nation as part of regional tour

ADDS REMARKS BY BLINKEN

By Abdul Jabbar Aburas and Ayse Irem Tiryaki

ANKARA/DOHA, Qatar (AA) – Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani called Sunday for an immediate cease-fire in the Gaza Strip and the delivery of humanitarian aid to the blockaded territory.

His remarks came during a meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who arrived in Doha as part of a regional tour.

Talks between the two sides focused on bilateral relations and regional and international developments, particularly the situation in the Gaza Strip, Qatar’s state news agency QNA reported.

The Qatari emir underscored the need to work for a permanent cease-fire, protect civilians, allow sufficient aid into Gaza and de-escalate tensions “to guarantee stability and security in the region,” QNA said.

Qatar along with Egypt and the US have been leading mediation efforts between Israel and the Palestinian resistance group Hamas to end the conflict in the Gaza Strip.

Blinken underlined the need for Palestinian civilians to return to their homes whenever the circumstances allow.

Palestinians cannot be and should not be forced to leave Gaza, he stressed.

Referring to statements by Israel in recent days regarding the migration of Palestinians out of Gaza, Blinken said that Washington rejects such rhetoric.

He further noted that this is "irresponsible" and makes the situation even more difficult.

Israel has launched air and ground attacks on Gaza following a cross-border incursion by Hamas on Oct. 7 last year, killing at least 22,800 Palestinians and injuring more than 58,400 others.

Nearly 1,200 Israelis are believed to have been killed in the Hamas attack.

The Israeli onslaught has left Gaza in ruins, with 60% of the enclave's infrastructure damaged or destroyed, and nearly 2 million residents displaced amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicines.

Many international legal experts have said that Israel’s actions in Gaza constitute war crimes or genocide, and countries such as Türkiye and South Africa are working to bring legal cases to that effect in international courts.

*Writing by Mohammad Sio and Merve Berker

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