Monday Jul 15, 2024
Monday Jul 15, 2024

US: Hostage Release Top Priority

2023 Oct 20, 7:57, Washington, DC [US]
Photo: ANI

The United States has reassured its support to Israel and said that the "top priority" for now remains to secure the release of hostages being held by Hamas.

In a press briefing on Thursday, US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said that the US is not only ready to provide Israel with the assistance it needs to defeat Hamas, but also continue to work to get humanitarian assistance into Gaza.

"The US supports the aspirations of the Palestinian people who are the victims of Hamas's acts of terrorism and we believe it is important to establish mechanisms to keep civilians in Gaza out of harm's way and provide them with humanitarian assistance...We continue to provide Israel with the assistance it needs to defeat Hamas. We continue to work to get humanitarian assistance into Gaza...Our work to secure the release of hostages continues to be a top priority...," he said.

Miller further reiterated that t the United States strongly supports Israel and its right to defend itself from Hamas, and that support is unwavering, as he highlighted US Secretary of State Antony Blinken's recent visit to eight nations in the Middle East.

On opening the Rafah border crossing for humanitarian aid to Gaza, US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said that the US is working out an agreement to ensure that deliveries can be handled appropriately.

"As you saw President Biden said yesterday that he spoke with Egyptian President Sisi who committed to opening Rafah to allow the delivery of humanitarian assistance...If Rafah gate is open to allow humanitarian aid to go in, we will be trying to get out the American citizens who are in Gaza and who want to leave...," he said.

"We are working out an agreement to ensure that deliveries can be handled appropriately. We think it's important that the innocent civilians in Gaza who did not start this conflict have access to food, water and medicine...," he added.

Egypt's President Al-Sisi has agreed to open the Rafah border crossing to allow roughly 20 trucks to provide humanitarian aid into Gaza, US President Joe Biden announced yesterday.

Aboard Air Force One, Biden told reporters that when he took off for Israel, his key goal was to get humanitarian aid into Gaza and ensure there is a vehicle, a mechanism for it to happen quickly.

"And so, I have been on the phone for the last -- I don't know. We've been on the ground a while. That's why we haven't taken off -- with El-Sisi. I don't think I was on that long. It was about probably half an hour. And both -- my team here was with me. And he agreed that what he would do is open the gate -- to do two things: one, let up to 20 trucks through to begin with. Satterfield, my ambassador, is down there in -- not down there -- in Cairo now. He's going to coordinate this. He has my authority to do what is needed to get it done," Biden said in a press gaggle on board Air Force 1 at Ramstein base, Germany.

"When we took off, my goal was multifold, but basically to get humanitarian aid into Gaza and to get as many Americans out who wanted to get out -- could get out as possible. And so, we got a commitment, as you know, from the -- from the Israelis, including the unanimous vote of their war cabinet and the Prime Minister. And the second thing was that I wanted to make sure there was a vehicle, a mechanism, that this could happen quickly," the US President said.

On being asked if he was talking about Rafah crossing, Biden responded by saying "yes", and added, "They're going to patch the road. They have to fill in potholes to get these trucks through. And that's going to occur; they expect it'll take about eight hours tomorrow. So, there may be nothing rolling through until -- what's today? I'm losing track of days. Thursday? Wednesday? Probably until Friday."

According to a White House readout, US President Joe Biden spoke with his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi on Wednesday and discussed ongoing coordination to deliver humanitarian assistance to Gaza and mechanisms to ensure the aid is distributed for the benefit of the civilian population.

The two presidents concurred to cooperate closely in promoting a swift and robust global response to the UN's plea for humanitarian aid.

"They agreed on the need to preserve stability in the Middle East, prevent escalation of the conflict, and set the circumstances for a durable, permanent peace in the region. The two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the enduring, strategic partnership between the United States and Egypt," the White House said in an official release. 


US Israel-Hamas war Israel Benjamin Netanyahu US State dept Matthew Miller Egypt rafah crossing
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