Blinken arrives in Egypt on first stop of Middle East tour

WASHINGTON (AA): US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Egypt on Sunday at the start of a regional tour that will also take him to Israel and the West Bank.

Egyptian Al-Qahera News channel carried the news, without providing any further details.

According to the State Department, Blinken will meet in Cairo with President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, and senior Egyptian officials to advance the US-Egypt strategic partnership and promote peace and security in the region, including through shared support for elections in Libya and the ongoing Sudanese-led political process.

The chief US diplomat will also visit Israel where he will discuss with officials there the enduring US support for Israel’s security, particularly against threats from Iran.

The talks will also take up Israel’s deepening integration into the region, Israeli-Palestinian relations and the importance of a two-state solution, and a range of other global and regional issues.

In the West Bank, Blinken will meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and senior officials to discuss Israeli-Palestinian relations, political reforms, and further strengthening the US relationship with the Palestinians.

Blinken’s visit comes amid rising violence in the Palestinian territories in recent days.

At least seven Israelis were killed in a shooting attack near a synagogue in occupied East Jerusalem Friday night, a day after nine Palestinians were killed and dozens injured in an Israeli military operation in the West Bank city of Jenin.