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Blinken arrives in Cairo on Middle East tour, aims brokering an end to Israel-Hamas conflict

Cairo, June 10: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Cairo on Monday, the first leg of his Middle East tour aimed at brokering an end to the ongoing Gaza war between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas.

Blinken and his 40-member delegation landed at a military base near Cairo airport, according to navigation sources. He is scheduled to meet with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi. After Egypt, Blinken will head to Israel.

His tour will also include Jordan and Qatar and will last until Wednesday. The State Department said Blinken will discuss with partners the need to reach a ceasefire agreement that secures the release of all hostages.

US President Joe Biden has recently laid out a new three-phase plan to end the war in Gaza. Neither Israel nor Hamas have so far agreed to the proposal, which envisages a complete and unrestricted ceasefire lasting six weeks and would lead to a permanent ceasefire in a second phase. Qatar, the US and Egypt have been mediating to achieve a ceasefire and an exchange of hostages for months now.

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