In Middle East Stops, Blinken Lobbies for Limiting War

Biden emphasizes concern for civilians to Netanyahu
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 14, 2023 3:50 PM CDT
Blinken Lobbies for Limiting War in Middle East Stops
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken tours St. Francis Church at the Abrahamic Family House, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on Saturday.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)

With an invasion of Gaza imminent, Secretary of State Antony Blinken went to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on Saturday to build international support for ensuring the Israel-Hamas war doesn't spread. Blinken also placed a call to Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, the New York Times reports. Blinken met with Mohammed bin Zayed, leader of the UAE, which previously agreed in the Abraham Accords to normalize relations with Israel. On Saturday evening, the diplomat visited the Abrahamic Family House in Abu Dhabi, a new building that houses a church, synagogue, and mosque. Blinken signed a triangular tile there, inscribing it with, "Light in the darkness."

Blinken met with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan in Riyadh earlier in the day. In both countries, Blinken addressed helping civilians trapped in Gaza get out, as well as the expanding humanitarian crisis overall, per the AP. "As Israel pursues its legitimate right, to defending its people and to trying to ensure that this never happens again, it is vitally important that all of us look out for civilians, and we're working together to do exactly that," he said in Riyadh. In his phone call, he asked that China use its influence in the Middle East to contain the fighting; his spokesman would not discuss Wang's response but said the US and China both want stability in the region.

Late in the day, the Israeli army reported that two rockets had been launched from Syria toward Israeli territory, per the Times. And Hezbollah said one of its fighters was killed by Israeli forces on Lebanon's southern border. A White House statement said President Biden cautioned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday in a phone call against expanding the fighting, per the Washington Post. Biden stressed his "support for all efforts to protect civilians," the statement said. (More Israel-Hamas war stories.)

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