As earlier reported, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was expected to arrive in Turkey over the weekend even though Turkey was not initially on his itinerary.
Secretary Blinken met with Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan in Ankara. They discussed "the Israel-Hamas conflict, including the need to prevent the spread of conflict throughout the region,” stated U.S. Department of State Spokesperson Matthew Miller. “Both agreed on the critical importance of protecting civilians and ensuring humanitarian assistance reaches civilians in Gaza. The Secretary and Foreign Minister Fidan emphasized the importance of the longstanding U.S.-Turkish cooperation as NATO Allies and Euro-Atlantic security priorities including Sweden’s NATO accession," added Miller.
The secretary addressed the press specifically on this issues following his meetings.
“We’re very pleased that the ratification protocols were signed by President Erdogan and are now before the Turkish parliament,” Blinken announced. "I’m convinced that we’ll see forward movement on that. I think there’s a shared commitment to make sure that we complete the process, that Sweden joins the Alliance. That’s a commitment that Turkey has, that we have, and I would expect that we’ll see that come to fruition," he added.
“Turkey has played a critical role over the last couple of years, particularly with Black Sea Grain Initiative and trying to get food out of Ukraine, as well as supporting its electricity grid," Blinken said.
The Secretary called Gaza a "work in progress." Blinken stated the goals were "to minimize civilian casualties," and everyone is aggressively working "on getting more humanitarian assistance into Gaza," and getting people out of Gaza. He emphasized that it is "critical" that the situation "doesn't spread," and that parties involved "set the conditions for a durable, sustainable, lasting peace for Israelis and Palestinians."
Blinken stated that the U.S. is intensely focused on the release of the hostages and that other countries can play a role in that goal.
"I’m very much convinced that that remains the case and that not only is there still opportunity, there’s a necessity, to see that happen," said Blinken. "We also believe that a pause could help advance that proposition as well," he added.
During every jaunt across the region in the last month since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack inside Israel, and this is Blinken's fourth hopscotching trip to the Middle East, he reminds the press that he keeps hearing that all the leaders are telling him that they are appreciative that the U.S. is engaged. He made this statement again during this press conference - selling the U.S. presence almost as if the Abraham Accords during the Trump administration never happened.
"One of the common denominators that I’ve heard throughout this trip is the imperative of American engagement, American leadership. Every country I talk to is looking for us to play a leading role with our diplomacy to try to make progress on all of these different aspects of the crisis," said Blinken.
And, then he turned once again to the diplomatic-speak using the terms, "a just and durable and sustainable peace," with a focus "on the day after and making sure that there’s a better path forward coming out" of the current crises, but as usual, Blinken is not giving away any specifics.
As earlier reported by CDM, an Israeli Ministry of Intelligence document was leaked that gives some insight to possibly what is being discussed although no one at State Department is currently discussing it publicly. What is being noted is the number of countries recalling their ambassadors home from Israel or cutting diplomatic ties with Israel - from Jordan to Turkey and several in South America, like Chile, Colombia and Bolivia.
Blinken and his delegation is now on their way to Japan for a G7 meeting, and onto Seoul, Korean and then to India focusing on American interests in the Indo-Pacific.
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