Blinken in Turkey in last stop of whirlwind Middle East trip

International |  IANS  | Published :

Ankara, Nov 6 (IANS) As part of a whirlwind diplomatic trip, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Turkey on Monday -- his last stop in the Middle East -- before departing for Asia.

In Turkey, the top US diplomat is scheduled to meet senior government officials and discuss the raging Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza, CNN reported.

According to Turkey's state-run Anadolu News Agency, Blinken and his Turkish counterpart, Hakan Fidan will also exchange views on relations and regional issues.

On Sunday, he made an unannounced visit to Iraq and met Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani in Baghdad for more than an hour.

About his meeting with the Prime Minister. Blinken said in a post on X late Sunday night that they underscored the need to "prevent the conflict from spreading".

"I urged him (al-Sudani) to hold accountable those responsible for attacks on US personnel in Iraq and discussed our work to deliver humanitarian assistance to civilians in Gaza," the Secretary added.

Blinken also visited the US Embassy, where he received a security briefing on the threat to American facilities.

Speaking to reporters in Baghdad on Sunday evening, he said negotiations on a humanitarian pause in the fighting are a "process" and added that US and Israeli teams were meeting to "work through the specifics, the practicalities of these pauses", CNN reported.

"Israel has raised important questions about how humanitarian pauses would work. We've got to answer those questions. We're working on exactly that," he said.

Ahead of his stop in Iraq, the top diplomat visited Israel, Jordan, the West Bank and Cyprus.

His trip to Israel on November 2 was the third since the Hamas waged its violent assault on the Jewish nation on October 7.

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