President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. spoke today with Amir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani of Qatar.  The two leaders discussed efforts to secure the immediate release of hostages held by Hamas.  They agreed that Hamas should release the hostages it is holding without delay.  The leaders underscored that the release of hostages would result in an immediate and sustained ceasefire in Gaza over a period of at least six weeks.  They exchanged views on how such a prolonged period of calm could then be built into something more enduring.  They also discussed planning to surge humanitarian assistance into Gaza and how the ceasefire under the hostage deal would further help enable those efforts and ensure that assistance reached civilians in need throughout Gaza.  They also discussed the tragic and alarming incident earlier today in northern Gaza.  Both leaders grieved the loss of civilian lives and agreed that this incident underscored the urgency of bringing negotiations to a close as soon as possible and expanding the flow of humanitarian assistance into Gaza.  The two leaders and their teams agreed to stay in regular contact over the coming days. 


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