ANI Photo | State Secy Leaf emphasies US’ commitment to humanitarian situation in Gaza, counterterrorism efforts

A senior US official, Barbara Leaf, has said that the US is committed to finding a “durable solution” to the Israel-Hamas war and establishing a pathway to a Palestinian state.
In a recent Zoom press conference, Leaf, the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, highlighted the US’ immediate priorities, saying, “We fully focus on the humanitarian situation in Gaza, working with our partners. We are pushing for the immediate release of hostages and aiming to prevent the conflict from expanding. However, this goal is complicated by Iran-backed actors, and we are working with partners to pave the way for a Palestinian state.”
“My aim to seek durable solution to this conflict and how we can build a pathway to Palestinian state,” Leaf said.
Addressing the tragic attack in Jordan, Leaf attributed it to ISIS, calling it a “unacceptable attack on Jordan and on US soldiers” and emphasising its connection to a network created by Iran.
Regarding the Houthi attack in the Red Sea, Leaf condemned it as “totally unacceptable,” stressing the importance of vital waterways for all Arab countries. Leaf asserted that the US is building a growing coalition of partners to bring political and military pressure to address this issue.
On the Israel-Hezbollah conflict, Leaf expressed concern about the volatility in the northern border, noting Hezbollah’s provocations. Leaf affirmed ongoing discussions with the Israeli government and emphasised the need for a diplomatic resolution.
When asked about a potential reduction of arms to Israel by the Biden administration, Leaf categorically said, “No, we are not contemplating that.”
Regarding proposals for negotiations between Israel and Hamas, Leaf indicated she was not aware of any definitive response at that moment. She highlighted ongoing efforts to bring about a ceasefire, mentioning CIA director involvement and collaboration with partners like Egypt and Qatar to propose a humanitarian pause to Hamas.
In her closing remarks on the situation, Leaf said, “I cannot impose a ceasefire on Hamas. Ultimately, peace and security for Israelis come through negotiation. Hamas has used extraordinary violence, and while I can reinforce that conflict can end very quickly, the path to peace requires negotiation.”
In the raging Israel-Hams war, at least 27,019 people have been killed and 66,139 wounded in Israeli attacks on Gaza since October 7. The revised death toll in Israel from the October 7 Hamas attacks stands at 1,139, Al Jazeera reported.

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