Deputy Assistant to the President and Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa, Brett McGurk, departed last night for visits to Belgium, Israel, the West Bank, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, and Jordan. He will be in Brussels, Belgium today briefing NATO Allies and European Union partners on a coordinated approach to the current situation in the Middle East, with a focus on significantly expanding humanitarian assistance to Gaza, economic pressure on Hamas and other terrorist groups, and demands to immediately release hostages of multiple nationalities still being held by Hamas.
In Israel, he will discuss Israel’s security needs, the imperative of protecting civilians in the course of military operations, as well as ongoing efforts to secure the release of hostages, and the need to rein in violent extremist settlers in the West Bank.
In the West Bank, Mr. McGurk will discuss the Biden Administration’s support for the Palestinian Authority and its essential role as the representative of the Palestinian people, as well as the need for reforms to promote long-term stability in both the West Bank and Gaza, and the aspirations of Palestinians to live with equal measures of freedom, security, and dignity in a state of their own.
In the Gulf region, Mr. McGurk will discuss efforts to contain the conflict against Hamas, and deterrence against any state or non-state group seeking its expansion, as well as U.S. security assistance to our Gulf Cooperation Council partners.
In Doha, he will also focus on the intensive efforts to secure release of hostages being held by Hamas, including a number of Americans, one of whom is a 3-year old toddler.
Finally, in Jordan, he will consult with senior leaders on the Biden Administration’s historic support for Jordan and a viable pathway to a Palestinian state.
Mr. McGurk will be joined on his trip by Assistant Secretary for Near East Affairs, Ambassador Barbara Leaf.