Qatar PM says Gaza truce deal awaiting Hamas nod as war rages on

Qatar PM says Gaza truce deal awaiting Hamas nod as war rages on
Qatari Prime Minister Al Thani cites "good progress" in Israel-Hamas talks, relaying a ceasefire and captive release framework to Hamas.
3 min read
30 January, 2024
The Qatari prime minister spoke late on Monday during a press conference with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington [Getty]

Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani has said that "good progress" was being made in negotiations between Israel and Hamas, adding that a framework to halt the war on Gaza and for the release of captives was relayed to Hamas.

"It is the only opportunity available to calm the situation," the Qatari prime minister said late on Monday during a press conference with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington.

"Qatar has no influence on any party regarding the ongoing negotiations on the prisoner exchange deal," he said, urging all sides "to focus on bringing calm to the Gaza Strip as it is essential for reducing the escalation in the region".

According to reports, the deal will reportedly see the phased release of captives in return for a truce in fighting, the entry of humanitarian aid into Gaza and the release of Palestinian detainees from Israeli prisons.

The first phase of the deal would witness a 30-day pause to release women, elderly and wounded captives from Hamas. Discussions during the same period would plan the second phase, which entails another 30-day pause to release Israeli soldiers and male captives.

In the latest efforts to broker a new truce, CIA chief William Burns met top Israeli, Egyptian and Qatari officials in Paris on Sunday.

Blinken expressed hope for the deal.

"Very important, productive work has been done. And there is some real hope going forward," he told reporters after the Paris talks.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office called the Paris talks "constructive" but pointed to "significant gaps which the parties will continue to discuss".

His comments came as Israel's bombardment of Gaza continued as fears mounted over a possible widening regional conflict after Israel's top ally Washington vowed to respond to an attack that killed three US troops in Jordan.

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Israel's attacks on the Gaza Strip killed 215 more people within 24 hours, including 20 members of one family, the Palestinian health ministry said on Monday.

Since the war began, Israel's relentless military offensive has killed over 26,000 people - mostly women and children - and wounded over 65,000 others.

Hundreds of thousands have been displaced in Gaza and rely on scarce aid, but there are fears of further shortages because of the rift between Israel and UNRWA.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who has pleaded for continued financial support to meet "dire needs", will meet donors on Tuesday, his office said.

Guterres has already spoken with Washington's representative to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield, as well as King Abdullah II of Jordan and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.