CIA director to head to Europe to revive Gaza cease-fire talks: Reports

CIA chief to hold talks in Europe in coming days to revive talks over Gaza cease-fire and hostage-prisoner swap deal, CNN reports

Iclal Turan  | 24.05.2024 - Update : 24.05.2024
CIA director to head to Europe to revive Gaza cease-fire talks: Reports


CIA Director William Burns will travel to Europe in the coming days to revive stalled talks for the Gaza cease-fire and hostage-prisoner swap deal, according to media reports.

“The Director is traveling to Europe in the coming days in an effort to revive the talks,” a US official told CNN.

“The director is in frequent discussions with the Egyptians, Qataris and Israelis. Both Egypt and Qatar are very engaged, as are the Israelis,” the official said.

CNN reported, citing a Qatari official, that Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani is currently in Paris to attend the talks with Burns.

Other participants in the talks were not confirmed in the report but Axios reported earlier on Thursday, citing US and Israeli officials, that Burns will meet Mossad director David Barnea in Europe.

Citing three sources, CNN reported that the cease-fire agreement that Hamas announced it accepted on May 6 was not the same as what the Qataris or the Americans believed had been presented to Hamas.

“The proposal had been changed without the knowledge of Israel or the other mediators, the US and Qatar, prompting anger and frustration,” it reported.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said in a statement that the War Cabinet ordered the negotiating team “to continue negotiations for the return of the hostages.”

The reports came as Israel's war on Gaza has reached its seventh month, killing more than 35,000 Palestinians, the vast majority of whom have been women and children, and injuring nearly 80,000 others, according to Gaza's Health Ministry.

Palestinian group Hamas's cross-border attack against Israel killed around 1,200 people, according to Israeli figures, while around 250 were taken to Gaza as hostages.

On May 6, Hamas announced it accepted a Gaza cease-fire proposal drawn by Egypt and Qatar. Israel, however, said the terms accepted by Hamas did not match those that Israel had approved, and decided to launch its offensive on Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

Hamas, which is believed to be holding nearly 130 Israeli hostages, demands an end to Israel’s offensive on Gaza in return for any hostage swap.

Tel Aviv currently holds at least 9,100 Palestinian prisoners in its jails, according to the Palestinian Prisoners Association.

Under a deal in November, 105 hostages were released in return of a week-long truce and some 240 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

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