U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken rejected on Sunday Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s request for a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip, according to a Palestinian official.
The official told Xinhua that Blinken reaffirmed during his meeting with Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah “Israel’s right to defend itself and continue its military campaign” in Gaza.
Blinken’s visit to Ramallah lasted for about an hour, during which he met with Abbas and his senior aides to discuss the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict, said the official who wished to remain anonymous.
He said Blinken had promised to pressure Israel to avoid harming civilians and provide safe corridors for humanitarian relief, but refused to discuss cease-fire mechanisms at this stage.
The official added that Abbas and Blinken agreed to adhere to the two-state solution and work on it after the end of the conflict in Gaza.
The Israel-Hamas conflict, raging for nearly a month, has killed 9,770 Palestinians in Gaza. On the Israeli side, more than 1,400 people lost their lives, the vast majority in the Hamas military attacks on Israel on Oct. 7, which triggered the ongoing conflict.