US Secretary of State Antony Blinken made an unannounced visit to Iraq before arriving in Turkey for a crucial diplomatic meeting, as reported by CNN. Turkey is the final stop on his regional tour before heading to Asia. In Turkey, Blinken is expected to meet with Turkish officials to discuss the Israel-Hamas conflict.
It’s worth noting that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been highly critical of Israel’s actions in Gaza, condemning them as “crimes against humanity.” He even suspended communications with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and recalled the Turkish ambassador to Israel for consultation.
Before his visit to Turkey, Blinken had traveled to Israel, Jordan, the West Bank, Cyprus, and Iraq as part of his intensive diplomatic journey. In Iraq, he held discussions with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shiaa al-Sudani, focusing on the importance of preventing the Israel-Hamas conflict from spilling over into Iraq.
Blinken emphasized the need to hold those responsible for attacks on U.S. personnel in Iraq accountable. He also discussed efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to civilians in Gaza.
Regarding the situation in Gaza, Blinken mentioned that negotiations for a humanitarian pause in the fighting are in progress. U.S. and Israeli teams are working on the specifics and practicalities of these pauses, addressing important questions raised by Israel about how they would work.