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Qatar says Gaza cease-fire talks at ‘delicate phase’

Thursday -18-April-2024 {HMC}  Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said Wednesday the negotiations for a new cease-fire in Gaza are at a “delicate phase.”

He told reporters efforts are being made to address barriers to reaching a deal.

Qatar, Egypt and the United States have been involved in talks to secure a halt in fighting that would also include the release of some hostages still held by Hamas in Gaza and Israel freeing Palestinian prisoners it is holding.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed the issue in a phone call with the Qatari prime minister on Tuesday. The U.S. State Department said the two officials reaffirmed “the importance of continuing to work closely together in the days ahead to achieve a ceasefire in Gaza that secures the release of all hostages.”

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron called Wednesday for the world to focus its attention on the hostages, and for Hamas to immediately release the hostages along with accepting the cease-fire proposal.

“The only reason the conflict continues in Gaza is because they won’t take that deal,” Cameron said during a visit to Israel. “We need the hostages out. We need the aid in.”

Israel’s military continued its military campaign Wednesday, saying its forces had carried out airstrikes on more than 40 Hamas targets during the past day.

The Health Ministry in Gaza said Wednesday that Israeli military actions killed at least 56 people in the past day, bringing the total since the war began to at least 33,899. The ministry says two-thirds of those killed are women and children.

Israel launched its offensive in response to the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel that killed about 1,200 people, according to Israeli figures. Militants also took about 250 people hostage. Israel says about 130 hostages remain in captivity, but one-quarter of them are dead.

Israeli tanks pushed back into parts of the northern Gaza Strip on Tuesday and the Israeli military warned Palestinians not to return. Israel said it does not want the Palestinians to return because it fears Hamas militants will be able to regroup there.

Palestinian UN membership

The U.N. Security Council could vote as early as Thursday on a resolution recommending full member status for the Palestinian Authority.

If the Security Council recommends the Palestinian Authority’s application, the U.N. General Assembly can approve it with a two-thirds majority vote.

But the measure’s fate at the Security Council is unclear, with the United States holding one of the council’s veto-holding positions.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield said Wednesday during a visit to South Korea that the United States does not see the resolution as part of the path to achieving a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

U.S. President Joe Biden said in a statement last month that the United States sees a two-state solution as “the only path toward an enduring peace.”

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.

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