US official in Middle East for talks on new Gaza 'pause': W.House

AFP , Tuesday 23 Jan 2024

A senior US official is holding talks in the Middle East on a new, possibly longer deal for the release of Israeli captives held by Hamas in exchange for a pause in fighting in Gaza, the White House said Tuesday.

John Kirby
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre fields a question for US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby during the daily press briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC. AFP


President Joe Biden's Middle East advisor Brett McGurk was in Egypt and would visit other countries, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said when asked about reports that Israel had proposed a two-month halt.

"Certainly one of the things he's in the region talking about is the potential for another captive deal, which would require a humanitarian pause of some length to get that done," Kirby told a briefing at the White House.

"The conversations are very sober and serious."

Kirby would not confirm the length of the pause under discussion, but said the White House would welcome one that was longer than the previous halt in November.

"If... that would give us the opportunity to get captives out and get more aid in, we would absolutely support a humanitarian pause of a longer length than the week that we were able to accomplish," he added.

* This story was edited buy Ahram Online.

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