US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke on the phone Thursday with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, the State Department says, as the Biden administration continues its efforts to secure the release of hostages held by Hamas and increase humanitarian aid for Gaza.
Both of those objectives require close cooperation with Egypt, which shares a border with Gaza and remains in contact with Hamas. While the main channel of the hostage talks appears to go through Qatar, Egypt has sought to play a role as well.
On the call, Blinken “thanked Egypt for its leadership in facilitating the safe exit of US and other foreign nationals from Gaza via Egypt to their final destinations, and advancing efforts to free hostages,” the US readout says.
Blinken “reaffirmed the importance of concrete steps to minimize harm to Palestinian civilians in all of Gaza and the United States’ rejection of the forced displacement of Palestinians.”
The secretary of state also “underscored the United States’ commitment to work in concert with Egypt and other regional partners towards the formation of a viable, prosperous Palestinian state,” the US readout says.