Biden says US looking at ‘new ways’ to address Israel’s Gaza blockade

Cairo – After meeting President Hosni Mubarak in Egypt Monday, Vice President Joe Biden said the US is looking for “new ways” to handle the situation in Gaza.

“We are consulting closely with Egypt, as well as our other partners, on new ways to address the humanitarian, economic, security, and political aspects of the situation in Gaza,” Mr. Biden said after the meeting, according to a statement released by the White House.

Biden also used his visit to press Egypt to keep the US-sponsored proximity talks with Israelis and Palestinians alive, and said progress toward direct negotiations is vital. “The status quo is unsustainable for all sides,” he said.

IN PICTURES: The Gaza flotilla and the aftermath of the Israeli naval raid

But while Biden praised Egypt’s “leadership and support,” the US has little to show for relying on its key Mideast ally to push US policy in the region. Egypt, without the regional heft it once had, has been unable to deliver Palestinian reconciliation, and has been weakened by its participation in the Israeli blockade. It now faces intense internal and regional pressure from Egyptians angry about the blockade and resurgent regional powers who see an opening in Egypt’s failures.


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