Mar 21, 2024 - World

Blinken: U.S. submitted draft resolution to UN calling for Gaza ceasefire

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (not pictured) in Jeddah on March 20, 2024.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on Wednesday. Photo: Evelyn Hockstein/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday the U.S. has submitted a draft resolution to the UN Security Council that calls "for an immediate ceasefire" in Gaza that's "tied to the release" of hostages held by Hamas.

Why it matters: Both Israel and Hamas are facing pressure to reach a deal to free the hostages and start a truce in Gaza, where over 30,000 Palestinians have been killed, per Axios' Barak Ravid, who noted this week that the first detailed negotiations in months were underway.

  • Now Blinken has said in an interview with Al-Hadath in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, that an agreement was "getting closer" and "the gaps are narrowing," according to a transcript released by the State Department Wednesday. "I think an agreement is very much possible," he added.

The big picture: Blinken said during the interview that the Biden administration was "pressing for an immediate ceasefire" tied to freeing the hostages.

  • The interviewer said to Blinken that "some may wonder how are you pressuring Israel to do so while you are still continuing supporting them financially and militarily, and even in the United Nations by vetoing any resolution that commits for an immediate ceasefire."
  • Blinken replied that the U.S. resolution before the Security Council "does call for an immediate ceasefire tied to the release of hostages, and we hope very much that countries will support that." 

Zoom in: Blinken emphasized that the U.S. stands "with Israel and its right to defend itself, to make sure that October 7th never happens again," in reference to Hamas' attack on Israel when it seized the hostages.

  • "But at the same time, it's imperative that the civilians who are in harm's way and who are suffering so terribly — that we focus on them, that we make them a priority, protecting the civilians, getting them humanitarian assistance," he added.
  • "And we've been leading the effort to do that, to get more in, to get more to the people who need it. We are pressing on that as hard as we can."
  • Representatives for the UN did not immediately respond to Axios' requests for comment.

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