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Qatar dampens Biden's optimism

While visiting an ice cream parlor, US President Biden said that he believed a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas was possible from Monday. Mediator Qatar dampens Biden's optimism. Was the US President wrong about the date?

According to mediator Qatar, a ceasefire in the Gaza war is not in sight any time soon. No breakthrough could be reported in negotiations for a ceasefire and the release of hostages, said a spokesman for the Qatari Foreign Ministry. The government of Qatar cannot comment on statements made by US President Joe Biden.

According to Biden, a ceasefire starting next Monday

The emirate was reacting to a statement made by US President Biden during a television appearance. After a conversation on comedian Seth Meyers' talk show, Biden went out for ice cream with him and, referring to a ceasefire, said: “I hope that it will be at the beginning, I mean at the end of the weekend. My national security adviser tells me, “We're close to it. We're not done yet. But I think we'll have a ceasefire next Monday.”

So far there has been no mention of this in the media, which refers to negotiating circles. So far it has been said that there should be a ceasefire before the start of the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan. That is expected on the evening of March 10th, about a week after the date mentioned by Biden.

So has the US President simply made a mistake? Either way, both parties to the conflict are trying not to spread too much optimism. An Israeli representative is quoted by the Ynet news portal as saying that he does not know what Biden's optimism is based on. A representative of the radical Islamic group Hamas said Biden's comments were premature.

Hostages should be freed through a ceasefire

The USA has been putting pressure on both sides to come to an agreement for weeks. This is intended to enable the release of the Israeli hostages and a ceasefire lasting several weeks. The USA wants to prevent Israel from soon starting a ground offensive in Rafah in the south of the Gaza Strip. There are over a million civilians there.

Since last Friday there has been some movement in the hardened fronts between Israel and Hamas. In Paris, Israeli negotiators met with representatives of the United States, Egypt and Qatar to discuss freeing the remaining hostages. Hamas was not present but, according to an insider, received a draft suspending all military action for 40 days.

With information from Benjamin Hammer, ARD Tel Aviv

Benjamin Hammer, ARD Tel Aviv, tagesschau, February 27, 2024 4:34 p.m

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