U.S. president was to meet with Palestinian President Abbas, leaders of Egypt and Jordan on Wednesday
Jordan has cancelled a four-way meeting scheduled Wednesday in the capital, Amman, between U.S. President Joe Biden, Jordanian King Abdullah II, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
"There is no use in talking now about anything, except stopping the war," between the Israeli military and Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi told state TV on Tuesday.
Safadi told al-Mamlaka TV that the war was "pushing the region to the brink" and the summit would be postponed.
The White House said Biden had hoped to use the summit to discuss the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel with America's Arab allies and the Palestinian Authority, which has long been opposed to Hamas and exercises limited autonomy in parts of the occupied West Bank. Biden also wanted to stress the need to get humanitarian assistance to Gaza's civilians.
Biden is still expected to spend part of Wednesday in Tel Aviv for talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other officials as Israel prepares a ground offensive aimed at eliminating Hamas militants in Gaza who killed 1,400 people — including several Canadian citizens — since rampaging through southern Israeli towns on Oct. 7.
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The United States has stationed a carrier strike group in the eastern Mediterranean in a show of force for Israel and a second is on the way. Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said last week that the U.S. is placing no conditions on its security assistance to Israel during this time.
Biden has given Israel full-throated support while stressing the need to head off a massive humanitarian crisis in Gaza, where Hamas authorities say about 3,000 people have already been killed in Israeli bombardments.
Biden told 60 Minutes in an interview broadcast Sunday night that an Israeli occupation within Gaza would be a "big mistake."
"He'll make it clear that we want to continue working with all our partners in the region, including Israel, to get humanitarian assistance in and provide some kind of safe passage for civilians to get out," said White House national security spokesperson John Kirby.
Hostages, humanitarian aid on agenda
Biden and Netanyahu, thrown into a wartime partnership despite deep political differences on the way forward in the Middle East, have joined forces.
Their face-to-face meeting, after holding several phone calls since the Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas, will allow Biden to privately discuss concerns and possible red lines in the coming Gaza invasion.
Biden will also get an update on the scores of hostages taken by Hamas.
The U.S. State Department has said 29 citizens of the United States were killed in the Hamas attacks in Israel, with 15 citizens and one lawful permanent resident unaccounted for.
Israel has vowed to annihilate the Hamas movement.
Biden will make clear that "Israel has the right and indeed the duty to defend its people from Hamas and other terrorists and to prevent future attacks," Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters after hours of talks with Israel's war cabinet in Tel Aviv.
He said Israel would brief Biden on its war aims and strategy and on how it will conduct operations "in a way that minimizes civilian casualties and enables humanitarian assistance to flow to civilians in Gaza in a way that does not benefit Hamas."
The U.S. and Israel agreed to develop a plan that will enable humanitarian aid from donor nations and multilateral organizations to reach civilians in Gaza, Blinken said.
Hundreds of tonnes of aid from several countries have been waiting in Egypt's Sinai peninsula for days pending a deal for its safe delivery to Gaza and the evacuation of some foreign passport holders through the Rafah crossing.
UN Security Council schedules vote
The United Nations Security Council will now vote on Wednesday on a Brazilian-drafted resolution that calls for humanitarian pauses in the conflict to allow humanitarian aid access to the Gaza Strip.
The diplomatic push comes after the U.S. and three other members of the UN Security Council late Monday rejected a Russian resolution on Gaza that condemned violence and terrorism against civilians but made no mention of Hamas.
Only four countries joined Russia in voting for the resolution on Monday night — China, the United Arab Emirates, Mozambique and Gabon.
Russia's UN ambassador had urged support for the resolution to respond to the "unprecedented exacerbation" of the situation, citing the council's inaction since the Oct. 7 attack.
Britain, France and Japan joined the U.S. in rejecting the resolution.
Fears of a wider Middle Eastern conflict grow
With files from Reuters
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