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An Israeli soldier gestures atop of a tank near the southern Gaza Strip border, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, as seen from Israel, February 7, 2024.

REUTERS/Amir Cohen

Bibi rejects Hamas’ ‘delusional’ cease-fire offer

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday forcefully rejected a proposal from Hamas for a 135-day cease-fire involving a phased exchange of hostages and Palestinian prisoners – and the eventual withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza.

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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant in Tel Aviv, Israel, January 9, 2024.

REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein

Blinken’s message falls flat in Israel

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is touring the Middle East this week in a bid to prevent a wider, regional conflict from spilling over from the Israel-Hamas war. But Blinken has his work cut out for him as Washington is increasingly struggling to exert its influence over the Israeli government.

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REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko

REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko

US pushes for longer Israel-Hamas truce

Top US officials are in the Middle East this week to try to prolong the fragile, temporary truce between Israel and Hamas made possible by the exchange of hostages and prisoners.

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Blinken meets Xi in Beijing
Blinken meets Xi in Beijing | Quick Take | GZERO Media

Blinken meets Xi in Beijing

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here, and Tony Blinken is not. No, he's coming back from Beijing, the US Secretary of State, the once-postponed and now-on-again weekend trip to Beijing. It's the first time he, as Secretary of State, has been there. Also, this was a last-moment meeting that included President Xi Jinping, and that's very important because on the ground in China, no attention being given publicly to the trip until Xi meets with Blinken, 35 minutes long, and then suddenly it is everywhere, and it's over 1 billion views, and it's all over state media, and it's all over social media. In a sense, the Chinese blessing the visit to their public and showing that they want to have a more constructive or at least stable relationship.

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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets Chinese President Xi Jinping in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

REUTERS/Leah Millis

Blinken-Xi talks deliver mixed results

While there was no major breakthrough from US Secretary of State Antony Blinken's much-anticipated meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping in Beijing on Monday, how it went depends on how you view the immediate future of fraught US-China ties.

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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Reuters

Is the US trying to patch things up with Saudi?

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken traveled on Tuesday to Saudi Arabia for a three-day trip, marking the second high-level US visit to the kingdom over the past month.

While few have expectations of a large breakthrough in a relationship that's been underpinned by awkward exchanges and tense standoffs for some time, Blinken is likely hoping to bolster waning trust.

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Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina attends a joint press remarks with Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida (not pictured) in Tokyo.

KIMIMASA MAYAMA/Pool via REUTERS

Blinken threatens, Bangladesh promises

In response to direct pressure from the US, Bangladesh has vowed to hold free and fair elections by January 2024. The announcement came after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday threatened to deny US visas for Bangladeshi officials who obstruct the democratic process.

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A motorist rides past a hoarding decorated with flowers to welcome G20 foreign ministers in New Delhi, India, March 1, 2023.

REUTERS/Amit Dave

What We’re Watching: Tense G-20 talks in India, Finland’s fence-building, China’s economic activity, Chicago’s mayoral runoff

An awkward G-20 summit in Delhi

When G-20 foreign ministers met in New Delhi on Thursday, it was, as expected, an awkward affair. While India, the current G-20 chair, had hoped that the bloc would focus on issues of importance to the Global South, like climate change and the global food crisis, the agenda was disrupted by US-Russia bickering over the war in Ukraine, which US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called "unprovoked and unjustified war", while Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov blamed the West for not doing enough to extend a deal to allow Ukrainian grain exports that will soon expire. Of course, focusing on anything else was going to be a tall order when the top diplomats of the US, China, and Russia were all in the same room. (President Biden and Xi Jinping last met at the G-20 summit in Bali in November, though there was no bilateral meeting between the US and Russia.) In a sign of how fractured Washington's relationship remains with these two states, Blinken on Wednesday again urged Beijing not to send lethal weapons to Russia and canned China’s peace plan for Ukraine. As for US-Russia relations … need we say more? India, which has gone to painstaking lengths to maintain its neutral status over the past year, says it thinks the group can get stuff done. But at a meeting last month of G-20 financial heads, the group couldn’t even agree on a joint statement.

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