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Blinken meets El-Sissi in Cairo as Biden administration scrambles to contain Israel-Hamas war

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, third from left, meets with Egypt's President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, right, at Al-Ittihadiya Palace in Cairo, Sunday Oct. 15, 2023.   -  
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Jacquelyn Martin/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.


US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Egypt on Sunday to meet with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sissi as the Biden administration scrambles to prevent the Israel-Hamas war from becoming a broader regional conflict.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday reaffirmed his country's support for Israel in its fight against Hamas.

Speaking in Cairo after meeting with Egypt's president, Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, Blinken however cautioned that "the way that Israel does this matters. It needs to do it in a way that affirms the shared values that we have for human life and human dignity, taking every possible precaution to avoid harming civilians."

Blinken will return to Israel this week after completing a frantic six-country rush through Arab nations aimed at preventing the Israel-Hamas war from igniting a broader regional conflict.

The U.S. State Department announced Blinken’s plan to travel Monday to Israel — his second visit in five days — as America's top diplomat arrived in Cairo for talks with el-Sissi.

It was the last of Blinken's meetings with Arab leaders amid increasing fears that an impending Israeli ground offensive into Gaza could spark a wider war with devastating humanitarian consequences.

During his meeting with Blinken, el-Sissi said Israel’s Gaza operation has exceeded “the right of self-defense” and turned into “a collective punishment," according to Egypt’s state-run media.

It was the strongest public pushback that Blinken has heard from the seven Arab leaders with whom he has met on the trip.

Blinken for his part said he had had "very good conversations, both with the crown prince in Saudi Arabia and here in Egypt with President el-Sisi."

He said he had heard "a lot of good ideas about some of the things we need to do moving forward, including practical ideas on getting assistance to Palestinians in Gaza who are in need, but also good and important conversations about the future."

Before landing in Egypt, Blinken met on Sunday morning with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh.

That meeting followed talks over the previous three days with the leaders of the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority.

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