US Secretary of State Blinken urges Palestinian reforms in call with President Abbas

US Secretary of State Blinken urges Palestinian reforms in call with President Abbas
Blinken told Abbas that the US 'is looking forward to working with the new PA, and urged the implementation of reforms.
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The US has urged the PA to weed out corruption, as well as bring new faces to the government following the appointment of PM Mohammed Mustafa [Getty/file photo]

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called Monday for further Palestinian reforms after the naming of a government in a call with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, as Washington seeks a post-war solution in Gaza.

Blinken told Abbas that the United States "looks forward to working with the new PA cabinet to promote peace, security and prosperity and urged the implementation of necessary reforms," State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said.

"Secretary Blinken emphasized that a revitalised PA is essential to delivering results for the Palestinian people in both the West Bank and Gaza," he said.

Abbas last week approved a new government led by Mohammed Mustafa, his long-trusted adviser on economic affairs, with representation also for women and Palestinians from Gaza.

Since the war broke out in October, the United States has been pressing for the Palestinian Authority to root out corruption and bring in new faces in hopes that the PA, which has limited autonomy in parts of the occupied West Bank, can take charge of Gaza as well should Hamas stop governing the Gaza Strip.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has long fought against a Palestinian state, and his extreme hard-right government have made clear they are not interested in a role for the Palestinian Authority.

But Miller said Blinken "underscored the US commitment to the realisation of the creation of an independent Palestinian state with security guarantees for Israel."

Blinken spoke to Abbas shortly after the top US diplomat joined a virtual meeting with Israeli leaders on a planned offensive on Rafah, where more than half of Gaza's population has taken shelter since the war.

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The United States has warned Israel against an assault but has also maintained its support for Israel including shipments of weapons.

Israel's brutal military campaign in Gaza has killed more than 32,000 people, mostly women and children, with many more feared to be trapped under rubble. A looming famine and the spread of disease are also likely to exacerbate the death toll in Gaza, UN agencies have warned.