CIA Director William Burns will be visiting Cairo for additional discussions regarding the hostages.

On February 9, 2024, CIA Director William Burns is set to travel to Cairo for further discussions on hostage negotiations with Hamas. This comes after the Qatari government received a new set of terms from Hamas, which were delivered days ago. The Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister will also be present at the talks. While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly rejected Hamas’ latest counterproposal as “delusional,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated that it offered some potential for an eventual agreement. Burns, who has been appointed by the Biden administration to lead the negotiations, previously met with key figures in Paris to work on a proposal involving the release of approximately 130 hostages in exchange for longer periods of ceasefire. It is unclear if the same participants will reconvene in Cairo. This will be the fifth round of talks for Burns, who has also traveled to Doha twice and met with the Mossad chief and Qatari prime minister in Poland. The first and only agreement was reached in November, resulting in the release of over 100 hostages, Palestinian prisoners, and a seven-day ceasefire. In their latest counter-offer, Hamas has proposed a phased release of hostages in exchange for 45-day ceasefires and the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza. They have also demanded the release of Palestinian prisoners and increased aid and reconstruction efforts in Gaza. The counterproposal was given to the Qatari government an hour before Blinken’s meeting with the Qatari Amir, who then relayed its contents to the American delegation. While the Qatari Prime Minister described the response as “generally positive,” President Biden later called it “a little over the top” without further explanation.  

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