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Gaza, hostages lead topics on Biden's call with Egypt, Qatar leaders

President Joe Biden spoke Thursday with Egypt's president and Qatar's leader about a pathway to a cease-fire in Israel's war with Hamas in Gaza.
Gaza, hostages lead topics on Biden's call with Egypt, Qatar leaders
Posted at 12:00 PM, Feb 29, 2024

President Joe Biden held multiple calls with leaders of Egypt and Qatar Thursday during a busy day in which the president was also visiting the U.S. southern border with Mexico to address a rising migrant crisis there. 

President Biden's calls with Amir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani of Qatar and President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi of Egypt largely centered around the humanitarian crisis in Gaza amid Israel's ongoing onslaught against Hamas targets. 

The White House said the leaders discussed possible pathways to a cease-fire that would allow the situation to improve and save lives. The White House said they spoke about how a release of the hostages taken from Israeli territory by Hamas would lead to "an immediate and sustained cease-fire in Gaza over a period of at least six weeks."

SEE MORE: Israeli forces kill 104 people in Gaza waiting for aid

A press pool spoke to President Biden on Thursday and asked if he believed there would be a cease-fire by Monday. The president said, "Hope springs eternal," and signaled that he wasn't certain if it would be by Monday. 

President Biden told reporters that he is still working on negotiating a cease-fire and said, "I know it will," when asked about the latest deaths in Gaza and if they would complicate the negotiations. 

On Thursday, witnesses said Israeli troops fired on a large group of Palestinians desperate to receive food aid. The crowd was rushing to pull food aid off of an aid convoy in Gaza City. It was the first time in weeks that food aid had reached northern Gaza, Israeli officials confirmed. International groups had called to let in aid after alarm was raised for a sustained period of time over concerns about growing starvation across the enclave. 

More than 100 people were killed Thursday in the tragic chaos. The death toll since the start of the Israel-Hamas war has surpassed 30,000, health officials reported. 

The White House said President Biden and President Al-Sisi of Egypt spoke about how a cease-fire under a hostage deal could lead to a sustained period without fighting — possibly a period of around six weeks — that could make space for building something "more enduring," the White House said in a statement. 

President Biden discussed with leader Bin Hamad Al-Thani of Qatar the need for more humanitarian aid to reach civilians in Gaza and both grieved the loss of civilian lives urging all parties to speed up the process to peace, according to the White House. 

President Biden and the leaders of Qatar and Egypt agreed to keep in contact over the coming days as cease-fire negotiations appeared to significantly ramp up. 


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