US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the truce reached on Thursday was “extremely important” for the US to be in an environment where it “can take a turn towards creating something more positive” after 11 days of violence between Israel and Hamas.
“This must begin now with a solution to the serious humanitarian situation in Gaza. Then reconstruction, the restoration of what was lost. And, very importantly, engaging both sides in trying to start real improvements in people’s lives so that Israelis and Palestinians can live in equal security, peace, and dignity,” Blinken said, speaking on ABC on Sunday.
The cease-fire comes after nearly two weeks of violence between Israel, Hamas that left more than 250 people dead, and hundreds more injured.
Blinken plans to visit the region in the coming days and meet with Palestinian, Israeli, and regional counterparts to discuss aid efforts.
Touching on the topic of Iran, Blinken said that the United States is not yet convinced that Tehran will do everything necessary to fulfill its obligations in the nuclear sphere so that sanctions against it are lifted.
“I think Iran knows what it needs to do to return to compliance in terms of nuclear issues, and we have not yet seen whether Iran is ready and willing to decide to do what it needs to do. This is a test, and we don’t have an answer yet,” Blinken said.
When asked by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos if he believes Iran is funding Hamas, the Secretary of State said, “Iran is engaged in a variety of activities, including financing extremist groups, supporting terrorism in a broader sense, supporting the most dangerous forces under its control, which are engaged in destabilizing activities throughout the Middle East.
In addition, the head of American diplomacy said that the United States is waiting for North Korea to decide to engage in diplomatic work on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. “We are waiting for Pyongyang to really want to contact us. The ball is on their side of the pitch,” he said.