Sun 26 May 2024 3:10 pm - Jerusalem Time

American and Israeli officials: There is progress in resuming hostage talks

American and Israeli officials said that a meeting held in Paris on Friday between CIA Director Bill Burns, the director of the Israeli Mossad, and the Qatari Prime Minister made progress towards the possible resumption of hostage negotiations in Gaza, according to the American website Axios.

Indirect negotiations between Israel and Hamas over a potential hostage deal that could lead to a temporary ceasefire reached a dead end two weeks ago after several days of talks in Cairo and Doha.

According to the website, “President Biden, Burns, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, and other senior American officials personally participated in efforts to reach an agreement to release the hostages held by Hamas when it attacked Israel on October 7.”

The White House sees the hostage deal as the only viable path to a ceasefire and a possible end to the war, which has become a political problem for Biden ahead of the presidential election.

A senior Israeli official told reporters on Saturday that Mossad Director David Barnea discussed "building infrastructure designed to allow the resumption of negotiations for the release of the hostages" with Burns and Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, according to the website.

Barnea presented the main points of the updated Israeli position, but did not present the Qatari prime minister with a written, formal Israeli proposal to send Hamas, a source familiar with the meeting told Axios.

The Israeli official said: “At the end of the meeting, it was decided to resume negotiations next week on the basis of new proposals led by Egyptian and Qatari mediators and with the active participation of the United States.”

American officials were more precise about the results of the Paris meeting.

They acknowledged that progress had been made and said that the possibility of resuming negotiations had been discussed, but they clarified that no date had been set for a new round of negotiations.

According to what an American official told the website: “There is progress. Contacts are continuing and we are working closely with the Egyptian and Qatari mediators. These contacts will continue during the next week as part of our endeavor to push the negotiation process forward.”

Axios reported that a Hamas official retreated from optimism and told the site that the group would not resume hostage deal negotiations as long as Israel continued the war in Gaza.

Sources familiar with the matter said that Qatari officials will meet with Hamas officials in Doha later this week to discuss the possibility of resuming hostage negotiations.


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American and Israeli officials: There is progress in resuming hostage talks