Read at www.nytimes.com
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken is on a tour of the Middle East to prevent further attacks and broker a cease-fire agreement for Gaza. He has met with leaders in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Qatar, and is scheduled to meet with leaders in Israel and the West Bank. Blinken is working to prevent the escalation of attacks with Iran-backed militias and rally allies around a proposed cease-fire agreement. Egyptian and Qatari mediators have presented Hamas with a proposal, backed by the United States and Israel, for a pause in fighting that would involve the exchange of hostages.
Mr. Blinken, on his fifth trip to the region since the Oct. 7 attacks in Israel, arrived in Cairo to meet with President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt before traveling to Doha later on Tuesday for discussions with Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, the emir of Qatar, and Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim al-Thani, the country's prime minister and foreign minister.
The Biden administration and its Arab allies are awaiting a response from Hamas to a proposed framework for a cease-fire deal. The deal would involve the exchange of more than 100 hostages held in Gaza for a pause in fighting and the release of Palestinians detained in Israeli jails. Blinken's meetings with leaders in the region are crucial in negotiations over the potential pause in the fighting in Gaza.
He is also scheduled to hold meetings with leaders in Israel and the West Bank during the trip. All are key players in negotiations over a potential pause in the fighting in Gaza.