US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will pay a new crisis visit to the Middle East this week and also attend the UN climate summit in Dubai, a senior US official said Monday.
The official, speaking as Blinken arrived in Brussels for NATO meetings, said the top US diplomat would visit both Israel and the West Bank in his third trip since the Israel-Hamas war.
"In his meetings in the Middle East, the secretary will stress the need to sustain the increased flow of humanitarian assistance to Gaza, secure the release of all hostages and improve protection to civilians in Gaza," the official said.
"The secretary will discuss with partners in the region the principles he laid out for the future of Gaza and the need to establish an independent Palestinian state," the official said.
The trip comes as mediator Qatar announced a 48-hour extension of a truce between Israel and Hamas, opening the way for further releases of hostages and the arrival of humanitarian aid into the war-battered Gaza Strip.
Blinken and US President Joe Biden have vowed support for Israel after Hamas militants stormed into the US ally on October 7 and killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians, in Israel's worst-ever attack.
But US officials have also voiced increasing concern about the toll on civilians in the Israeli reprisals in the Gaza Strip.
The bombing and ground campaign has left almost 15,000 people dead, mostly Palestinian civilians, according to Gaza's Hamas government.
Blinken is expected to hold meetings and speak at COP28 in Dubai, which opens on Thursday in the largest-yet UN-led summit on climate change.
Biden has attended the last two annual summits, in Scotland and Egypt, in hopes of showing US leadership on climate including the billions of dollars in investment in the green economy.
But another US official earlier said that Biden would not attend COP28.