To discuss ceasefire negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas with their leaders

Blinken will travel to Saudi Arabia and Egypt to discuss the Gaza truce

El secretario de Estado de Estados Unidos, Antony Blinken, saluda con la mano mientras parte hacia Doha en la aeropista de El Cairo, el 6 de febrero de 2024, durante su gira por Oriente Medio, su quinto viaje urgente a la región desde que estalló la guerra entre Israel y Hamás en Gaza en octubre – PHOTO/Mark Schiefelbein/POOL/AFP
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken waves as he departs for Doha at Cairo airport on February 6, 2024, during his Middle East tour, his fifth urgent trip to the region since war broke out between Israel and Hamas in Gaza in October - PHOTO/Mark Schiefelbein/POOL/AFP

US Chief of Staff Antony Blinken will travel to Saudi Arabia and Egypt this week to discuss with their leaders negotiations for a ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas in Gaza, his spokesman said Tuesday. 

The secretary of state will meet with Saudi representatives in Jeddah on Wednesday and will be in Cairo on Thursday for talks with Egyptian officials, his spokesman, Matthew Miller, said from the Philippines. 

This will be Blinken's sixth trip to the Middle East since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas on 7 October. 

The secretary of state will address "efforts to secure an immediate ceasefire agreement that ensures the release of all remaining hostages, intensified international efforts to increase humanitarian aid to Gaza, and post-conflict coordination in Gaza," Miller said in a statement. 

Blinken will also address the issue of designing "a political path for the Palestinian people with security guarantees for Israel and an architecture for lasting peace and security in the region," he added. 

The US chief diplomat is in the Philippines on a brief tour of Asia to strengthen relations between Washington and key countries in the region in the face of China's growing power. 

Blinken's new trip to the Middle East follows some signs of progress in truce talks between Israel and Hamas. 

The US is also pressing its Israeli ally to avoid a major operation on the city of Rafah, located at the southern tip of Gaza on the border with Egypt, where 1.5 million people are crowded, according to the UN. 

An incursion into Rafah would result in even more civilian casualties and "worsen the already dire humanitarian situation, reinforce lawlessness in Gaza, and further isolate Israel" on the international stage, Washington warned.