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Thursday, 20 May 2021

Biden wants a “de-escalation” in Israel’s attacks on Gaza

US President Joe Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday that he “expected a significant de-escalation” in the violence with Gaza as a step towards a ceasefire, according to a White House statement detailing a call between the two leaders. Biden again stopped short of demanding that Israel agree to a ceasefire, and Netanyahu later said that he is “determined to continue this operation until its objective is achieved.”

In a “symbolic” move, US House Democrats proposed a resolution to block the USD 735 mn arms sale to Israel that Biden approved earlier this week, although the resolution is unlikely to progress and the sale will likely receive lawmakers’ approval, Reuters says.

Also worth knowing this morning:

  • Moscow and Washington could smooth over their tensions, after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said they would work on developing their relationship following a meeting in Iceland yesterday, according to the Financial Times.
  • Lebanese foreign minister steps down: Foreign Minister Charbel Wehbe has resigned after Gulf states expressed anger at his comments accusing them of supporting Daesh, Reuters reports.

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