Biden, Qatar’s Emir Agree Hostage Deal Key to Pause in Gaza Fighting -White House

Saudi Press Agency/Handout via REUTERS
Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani attends Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, November, 11, 2023.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday spoke with Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani about Gaza and they agreed that efforts to secure the release of hostages taken by Hamas were key to securing a longer pause in fighting, the White House said.

“Both leaders affirmed that a hostage deal is central to establishing a prolonged humanitarian pause in the fighting and ensure additional life-saving humanitarian assistance reaches civilians in need throughout Gaza,” the White House said in a statement.

Biden’s Middle East adviser Brett McGurk was in Doha this week having discussions about the possibility of another hostage deal between Israel and Hamas.

White House spokesperson John Kirby said on Tuesday the U.S. would support a longer humanitarian pause in combat in Gaza to ensure hostages could be released and aid brought in.

Biden also spoke with Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Friday.

They discussed intensifying efforts to further increase the delivery of life-saving humanitarian assistance into and throughout Gaza and agreed to continue their close coordination on humanitarian assistance, the White House said in a statement.