Photo: Nicolas Garcia Agence France-Presse The proposed agreement between Israel and Hamas would provide for the release of hostages held in the Gaza Strip in exchange for a pause in the fighting.
France Media Agency in Doha
- Middle East
Qatar announced on Tuesday that it had received a “positive” response from Palestinian Hamas on a draft agreement concerning in particular the release of hostages held in the Gaza Strip, with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken affirming that he will discuss it on Wednesday with Israeli officials.
“We received a response from Hamas regarding the general framework of the hostage agreement. This response contains some comments, but it is overall positive,” Qatar Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said at a press conference alongside visiting US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Doha.
“We are studying it intensively. It was communicated to the Israelis,” Mr. Blinken said.
“I will resume this conversation tomorrow in Israel when I am there, and we will work as hard as possible to try to reach an agreement,” he added.
The Qatari prime minister, who participated a week ago in Paris in discussions on the subject with American, Israeli and Egyptian officials, said he was “optimistic”, but refused to give details of Hamas' response, citing “sensitivity of circumstances.”
The Palestinian Islamist movement confirmed in a statement on Tuesday that it had submitted its response to Egyptian and Qatari mediators concerning a proposed ceasefire with Israel, relating in particular to the hostages still held in the Gaza Strip since the Hamas attack on October 7 on Israeli soil.
According to Israeli authorities, 132 hostages are still captive, of whom 28 are believed to be dead.
- Blinken in the Middle East as fifth month of Gaza war dawns
- It is premature to talk about a truce agreement with Israel according to Hamas
Mr. Blinken, who is on his fifth tour of the region since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas, is traveling to Israel after his visit to Qatar.
“There is still a lot of work to be done. But we continue to believe that an agreement is possible and even essential, and we will continue to work tirelessly to achieve it,” Mr. Blinken said
According to him, the draft agreement “offers the prospect of prolonged calm, a release of hostages and an increase in humanitarian aid” to the besieged Gaza Strip.
“It would clearly benefit everyone, and I think it’s the best way forward,” he said.