US top diplomat Blinken urges Israel, Palestinians to ‘end the cycle of violence’

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Israeli policemen stand guard in front of Muslim women praying at the Al Aqasa mosques compound on Wednesday. AFP

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged Israeli and Palestinian leaders on Tuesday to “end the cycle of violence” after a sharp escalation in tensions between the two sides in recent days.

In separate calls with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, Blinken stressed “the importance of Israelis and Palestinians working to end the cycle of violence in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza by exercising restraint and refraining from actions that escalate tensions,” the State Department said.

He also urged both sides to exercise “restraint” and refrain “from actions that escalate tensions” including at the Al Aqsa mosque compound.

In his call with Lapid, Blinken reiterated the US government’s “steadfast commitment” to Israel’s security and condemned recent rocket attacks from Gaza.

In his call with Abbas, Blinken affirmed the US commitment to improving Palestinians’ quality of life.

But with both leaders, Blinken urged for a two-state solution.

The State Department announced on Tuesday evening that Yael Lempert, assistant secretary for near eastern affairs, would travel to Jordan, Israel, the West Bank and Egypt for talks aimed at “reducing tensions” in the region. Her trip will last from Tuesday until April 26.

Agence France-Presse



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