Skip to main content

Talks reach 'understanding' on possible Gaza ceasefire: US

US says talks came to 'understanding' on possible Gaza ceasefire, hostages
2 min read
25 February, 2024
Recent talks in Paris could result in a new truce agreement for Gaza and the exchange of Israeli hostages for Palestinian prisoners, a White House envoy said.
Israel has conducted strikes on the Gaza Strip for 142 days [Getty]

The United States said Sunday that multinational talks in Paris came to an "understanding" on a possible deal for Hamas to release hostages and for a new ceasefire in Israel's war on Gaza.

An Israeli delegation led by Mossad chief David Barnea was in the French capital on Friday to discuss a deal to ensure a fresh ceasefire and the release of hostages held by Hamas in Gaza in exchange for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

"Representatives of Israel, the United States, Egypt, and Qatar met in Paris and came to an understanding among the four of them about what the basic contours of a hostage deal for temporary ceasefire would look like," White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told CNN.

"It is still under negotiation in terms of hammering out the details of it. There will have to be indirect discussions by Qatar and Egypt with Hamas because ultimately they will have to agree to release the hostages," he said.

"That work is underway. And we hope that in the coming days, we can drive to a point where there is actually a firm and final agreement on this issue."

Negotiations for a ceasefire have resumed in Doha between the four countries, as well as Hamas representatives, state-linked Egyptian media reported Sunday.

During the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7, the Palestinian group took some 250 hostages, 130 of whom remain in Gaza, including 30 presumed dead, according to Israel. Several have been killed in Israeli strikes.

As with a previous week-long truce in November that saw more than 100 hostages and 240 Palestinian prisoners freed, Qatar, Egypt and the United States have been spearheading efforts to secure a new deal.

International pressure for a ceasefire has mounted in recent weeks, as the death toll from Israel's unprecedented military offensive on the Palestinian territory nears 30,000, mostly women and children, according to the Gaza health ministry.

Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas in response to its October attack that resulted in the deaths of 1,160 people, according to an AFP tally of official Israeli figures.

Hamas says the attack came in response to Israel's blockade of Gaza and continued aggression against the Palestinians.