President Joe Biden meets with King Abdullah II of Jordan at the White House on Monday as the administration continues negotiations on a possible hostage release deal in Israel’s war with Hamas and criticized the ground attack planned by Israel on the town of Rafah in Gaza.
The two leaders plan to discuss “the current situation in Gaza and efforts to bring a lasting end to the crisis,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement. The discussion will focus on “US efforts to support the Palestinian people, including increased humanitarian aid to Gaza and a vision of lasting peace including a two-state solution with guaranteed Israeli security,” she said. declared.
The meeting between Biden and Abdullah is the first since three US soldiers were killed in a drone strike on a base in northeastern Jordan last month. The United States blamed the strike on Iranian-backed militant groups, and President and first lady Jill Biden this month witnessed the transfer of the slain soldiers to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.
The administration is engaged in talks over a possible hostage release deal, which includes Biden sending CIA Director William Burns to Egypt on Tuesday. The intelligence chiefs of the United States, Israel and Egypt and the prime minister of Qatar negotiated a possible framework that would include a six-week pause in fighting, the exchange of Israeli hostages for Palestinian prisoners and a humanitarian aid plan to reach Gaza.
U.S. officials said they believe major progress has been made on a hostage release deal that could come as soon as this week, a senior administration official told reporters Sunday after Biden spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“It’s pretty much there,” the official said on the call with reporters, noting that there remained “some important questions that need to be resolved.”
The official said Biden and Netanyahu spent two-thirds of their call Sunday discussing hostage negotiations. Biden expressed concerns about the Israeli military operation in Rafah because large numbers of civilians had been directed there earlier in the war, the official said. Biden and Netanyahu had “some pretty detailed exchanges about this,” the official said.
While privately expressing frustration with Netanyahu’s military approach, Biden continued to show unequivocal support for Israel, NBC News reported.
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