Biden thanks Sisi, Tamim for 'critical leadership and partnership' in reaching Gaza truce, releasing captives

Ahram Online , Wednesday 22 Nov 2023

US President Joe Biden thanked Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani on Tuesday for their "critical leadership and partnership" in reaching a deal to secure the release of captives in Gaza, according to a White House statement.

Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and US President Joe Biden following their meeting on the side-lines of Jeddah Summit, Saudi Arabia, 16 July 2022. (photo courtesy: official X account of Biden)



"I thank Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani of Qatar and President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi of Egypt for their critical leadership and partnership in reaching this deal," the US president said.

After the successful Egyptian-Qatari-American mediation, Israel and Hamas have reached an agreement for a four-day truce to Israel’s devastating war in Gaza, accompanied by the release of dozens of captives held by Hamas in return for Palestinians imprisoned by Israel.

Biden also expressed his aspiration to speak with each of the Egyptian and Qatari leaders and maintaining close contact as "we work to ensure this deal is carried through in its entirety."

He added that his priority is to ensure the safety of American captives around the world, noting that this deal should bring home additional American captives.

"We saw the first results of that effort in late October, when two Americans were reunited with their loved ones," he said.

"I will not stop until they are all released."

Biden said that the deal is a testament to the "tireless diplomacy and determination" of many dedicated individuals across the US government to bring Americans home.

US Vice President Kamala Harris expressed her appreciation for Biden and other leaders over this agreement, calling on Hamas to release all the remaining captives. 

"President Biden and I have no higher priority than the safety of Americans. Today’s agreement means some Americans should be coming home," she noted. 

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed his appreciation for the US leadership and partnership with Egypt and Qatar in this work.

"Today’s outcome is the result of tireless diplomacy and relentless effort across the department and broader US government," he said.

US Ambassador to Egypt Herro Mustafa Garg expressed her gratitude for Egypt's persistence in working towards reaching the deal, describing it as an unequivocal testament to the strength of the US-Egypt partnership.

"Throughout this crisis and during these negotiations, Egypt has demonstrated yet again its commitment to regional stability and its generosity in aiding civilians caught in conflict," Garg said.

She recognised Egypt’s focus on ensuring humanitarian assistance can reach civilians in Gaza and in facilitating the ability of foreign nationals to depart Gaza safely.

"The US recognises the Egyptian government’s leadership and long-term vision in working towards peace in the Middle East," she said, affirming US rejection to the forced displacement of Palestinians from Gaza "not to Egypt, not anywhere else".

El-Sisi extended Wednesday his welcome to the successful Egyptian-Qatari-American mediation efforts resulting in a humanitarian ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, emphasising Egypt's persistent commitment to achieving lasting peace.

"I would like to express my welcome to the success achieved by the Egyptian-Qatari-American mediation in reaching an agreement to implement a humanitarian truce in the Gaza Strip and exchange captives between the parties," El-Sisi wrote on his Facebook account.

Qatar confirmed Wednesday that Israel and Hamas had reached an agreement on a four-day humanitarian pause in exchange for the release of 50 captives in Gaza.

Qatar said the deal was undertaken with Egypt and the US as well as Hamas and Israel and would include "the entry of a larger number of humanitarian convoys and relief aid, including fuel designated for humanitarian needs."

For 47 consecutive days, Israel has continued its intense bombardment of Gaza, killing over 13,300 Palestinians, including 5,600 children and 3,550 women.

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