Israel-Gaza War: Antony Blinken stopped in Crete before going to Turkey

Antony Blinken

The US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, made an emergency stop in Greece, specifically at the Souda base in Crete, who was scheduled to head to Turkey after his trip to Israel.

It was preceded by a series of extraordinary meetings, such as the one with Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank and the brief visit to Cyprus, where he met with the Cypriot president, Nikos Christodoulidis.

Anthony Blinken had taken on the difficult task of placating Ankara, hence the last-minute addition to his schedule of a visit to Turkey that had initially been ruled out.

The US top diplomat made an emergency stop in Cyprus for a few minutes during his trip from Israel to Turkey.

Blinken 's plane landed at 14:00 at Larnaca airport, where security measures are draconian. Blinken and Christodoulidis discussed the situation in Gaza and Cyprus' proposal to create a maritime aid corridor to Gaza. The meeting was kept secret for security reasons.

The press representative of the Cypriot presidency, Konstantinos Letymiotis, wrote on X: "The President of the Republic of Cyprus @Christodulides held a meeting today with the US Secretary of State @SecBlinken as part of his contacts in the region.

The main topic of the meeting will be the crisis in our region as it develops and the initiative of the Republic of Cyprus regarding the creation of a maritime humanitarian corridor for the provision of humanitarian aid through Cyprus, with the final destination being Gaza."

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The meeting with Mahmoud Abbas lasted more than an hour

Earlier, Mr Blinken left Tel Aviv shortly after 1:30 p.m. to visit Turkey today as the Turkish Foreign Ministry confirmed the visit of the American Secretary of State on the 5th and November 6 in Ankara.

It was preceded by the extraordinary meeting, lasting more than an hour, with the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, during his extraordinary visit to the West Bank.

The two of them, as Sky News reports, did not address the media. A spokesman for Mr Abbas said the Palestinian Authority president had told Mr Blinken there must be an immediate ceasefire and humanitarian aid flow to Gaza.

The top US diplomat, meanwhile, reaffirmed the country's commitment to providing vital aid and resuming essential services in Gaza, according to State Department spokesman Matthew Miller. He also made it clear that Palestinians should not be forcibly displaced.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken told Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday that the Palestinian Authority should play a central role in what comes next in the Gaza Strip, a senior State Department official told Reuters.

Mr Abbas demanded an "immediate ceasefire" to allow humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, which Israel continues to bombard in response to Hamas's attack on Israeli civilians on 7 October.

"We demand that you stop them from committing these crimes immediately," Mr Abbas told Mr Blinken, according to a spokesperson.

Antony Blinken

It comes as Hamas, which has run Gaza independently of the Palestinian Authority since 2007, claimed on Sunday that an Israeli airstrike killed at least 47 people in the Maghazi refugee camp.

Mr Blinken said the US is committed to getting aid into Gaza and restoring essential services there, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said in a readout of the meeting.

"The secretary also expressed the commitment of the United States to working toward the realisation of the Palestinians' legitimate aspirations for the establishment of a Palestinian state," he added.

Violence has continued in the West Bank, with 121 Palestinians killed there since the war in Gaza began, according to UN figures.

About 200 people gathered in Ramallah on Sunday to protest Mr Blinken's arrival, which follows visits to Israel and Jordan.

Mr Blinken and Mr Abbas "discussed efforts to restore calm and stability in the West Bank, including the need to stop extremist violence against Palestinians and hold those accountable responsible", Mr Miller said.

Palestinians search for casualties at the site of a blast at Maghazi refugee camp
Palestinians search for casualties at the site of a blast at Maghazi refugee camp

Mr Blinken has already suggested an "effective and revitalised Palestinian Authority" would make the most sense to ultimately run Gaza.

He repeated his belief on Sunday, telling Mr Abbas the Palestinian Authority should play a central role in what comes next in the Gaza Strip, according to a senior State Department official.

The official added: "[The] future of Gaza was not the focus of the meeting but the Palestinian Authority seemed willing to play a role."

READ MORE: Greek president to host members of families of Israeli hostages on Monday.

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