(Cairo) US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday in Cairo called on regional countries to “put pressure” on the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas to accept a ceasefire in the Strip. Gaza.

Antony Blinken on Monday began his eighth visit to the region since October 7, when an unprecedented Hamas attack on Israeli soil sparked a devastating war in the Palestinian territory.

In closed-door talks that also included Egyptian intelligence chief Abbas Kamel, Blinken and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi discussed “joint efforts to achieve a ceasefire and an exchange of hostages and prisoners,” according to a statement from the Egyptian presidency.

Speaking to an audience of journalists before flying to Israel, the head of American diplomacy declared for his part that he had “a very good exchange” with Mr. Sissi.    

Blinken’s visit aims to advance a proposed truce announced on May 31 by US President Joe Biden.  

This plan provides, in a first phase, for a six-week ceasefire accompanied by an Israeli withdrawal from densely populated areas of Gaza, the release of certain hostages kidnapped during the Hamas attack and detained Palestinian prisoners. by Israel.  

But Hamas has still not officially reacted to this proposal.  

“If you want a ceasefire, pressure Hamas to say yes,” Mr. Blinken said Monday, saying he was speaking to governments “in the region.”  

Mr. Biden described the plan as coming from Israel, even as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he wants to continue the war until Hamas is destroyed and political divisions at home could complicate American diplomatic efforts.  

In Cairo, Mr. Blinken also spoke with Mr. Sisi about reopening the Rafah crossing point, between Egypt and the Gaza Strip through which international aid is transported, but which has been closed since the Israeli army took control of it on May 7 from the Palestinian side.  

“With or without a (truce) agreement, it is absolutely essential that we provide more aid to the Palestinians, that aid flows and is distributed to those who desperately need it,” he said.  

Egypt, the first Arab country to make peace with Israel and a historic mediator in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, says drivers of humanitarian aid trucks do not feel safe passing through Israeli controls.

In Israel, Mr. Blinken is expected to meet Benjamin Netanyahu, but also Benny Gantz, a key centrist figure in the war cabinet who has just resigned.

He is also due to visit Jordan and Qatar, another key mediator in efforts for a truce in Gaza.