February 23, 2024

Balkan Travellers

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Hostage deal: CIA chief in Europe and Mossad chief to meet with Qatari prime minister

Hostage deal: CIA chief in Europe and Mossad chief to meet with Qatari prime minister

US President Joe Biden plans to send CIA Director William Burns to Europe in the coming days for high-level talks to reach another deal to free hostages held by the Hamas terror group.

Mr. Burns will meet Israeli and Egyptian intelligence chiefs David Barnea and Abbas Kamel, and Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani. The Washington Post, citing officials close to the matter. US Middle East diplomat Brett McGurk held discussions on the same topic in Qatar and Egypt this week.

Israel reportedly offered a two-month ceasefire in exchange for the release of the remaining 136 hostages. A senior Israeli official said the meeting would help bridge gaps between Qatari and Egyptian mediators, who have worked separately to reach an agreement. Treaty leaders are expected to discuss the release of all hostages in exchange for a longer pause in the fighting.

There are huge gaps between Israel and Hamas, with Israel refusing to agree to a permanent ceasefire and Hamas refusing to release the remaining 136 hostages. Channel 12 Hamas's other conditions include a 10- to 14-day pause before it begins releasing hostages, the release of 100 security prisoners for each freed hostage, or the withdrawal of all Israeli forces until the deal takes effect.

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