Blinken Meets Sudani at Gaza Aid Conference in Jordan

Blinken “affirmed that we remain committed to the U.S.-Iraq 360 degree relationship," as they discussed "the comprehensive proposal" for a Gaza ceasefire and hostage release.
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken (L) and Iraq's Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani (R). (Photo: US Secretary of State)
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken (L) and Iraq's Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani (R). (Photo: US Secretary of State)

WASHINGTON DC, United States (Kurdistan 24) – U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia’ al-Sudani at a conference on Tuesday, co-hosted by Jordan and Egypt. 

The conference took place at the King Hussein bin Talal Convention Center. It is named after King Abdallah II’s father, the long-time ruler of Jordan–from 1952 until his death 47 years later, at the age of 63.

The Convention Center is located in Sweimeh, which lies on the eastern side of the Dead Sea. The event was attended by U.N. humanitarian aid chief, Martin Griffiths, the President of the European Union, Charles Michel, as well as senior figures from a number of countries, including Blinken and Sudani.

U.S.: Hamas Needs to Accept U.N. Resolution

The meeting in Jordan followed a day after the U.N. Security Council passed a U.S.-sponsored resolution providing for a multi-stage cease-fire in Gaza, as well as the release of hostages; the provision of humanitarian aid; and rebuilding the devastated territory.

According to U.S, officials, Israel has privately said that it accepts the resolution. However, Hamas, which triggered the war by its brutal Oct. 7 cross-border assault, in which it killed some 1,200 Israelis and kidnapped another 250, has yet to do so. 

That prompted Blinken to publicly call on Hamas to act—and later on Tuesday, Hamas announced that it had responded positively.

Initially, it seemed that Hamas had accepted the terms of the U.S.-proposed cease-fire. But as more details emerged, it emerged that Hamas had not done so. Rather, it had made a counter-proposal with key changes. 

John Kirby, White House National Security Communications Advisor, welcomed the receipt of a response from Hamas, but declined to comment on it, beyond saying, “We’re working our way through it and looking at it.”

According to a Wall Street Journal report on Monday, the head of Hamas in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, believes that the Palestinian deaths, on a very large scale, strengthen Hamas’s hand vis-a-vis Israel, and he has called them “a necessary sacrifice.”

“We have the Israelis right where we want them,” Sinwar reportedly told other Hamas leaders. Thus, the war in Gaza continues.

Blinken-Sudani Meeting

Blinken met with several Arab leaders on the sidelines of the Gaza aid conference, including Iraq’s Prime Minister.

Blinken’s meeting with Sudani marked the third time that the two men have met since November— following Hamas’s Oct. 7 assault, which obliged the Biden administration to pay significantly more attention to the Middle East (National Security Council Adviser, Jake Sullivan, had earlier told The Atlantic, as he sought to illustrate the Biden administration’s successful approach to the region, “The amount of time that I have to spend on crisis and conflict in the Middle East today compared to any of my predecessors going back to 9/11, is significantly reduced.”)

According to State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller, Blinken and Sudani discussed both the situation in Gaza, as well as bilateral relations between the U.S. and Iraq.

In April, Sudani led a large delegation to Washington which included Safeen Dizayee, head of the Kurdistan Regional Government’s Department of Foreign Relations. 

Read More: U.S. Seeks to Broaden Ties with Iraq, as PM Sudani Makes First Visit to Washington

The visit marked a significant advance in the development of U.S.-Iraq relations.

In Blinken’s meeting with Sudani, the U.S. Secretary “affirmed that we remain committed to the U.S.-Iraq 360 degree relationship to build economic opportunities and prosperity for all Iraqis,” according to Miller’s summary of their discussion.

“They also discussed the comprehensive [U.S.] proposal to achieve a ceasefire in Gaza and secure the release of all hostages,” Miller stated.

“The Secretary expressed appreciation for Iraq’s support of the plan and reiterated that Hamas should accept it without delay.”