Blinken Heads to G7 Meeting for Talks on Israel and Ukraine

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken arrived in Italy on Wednesday for a gathering of foreign ministers from the Group of 7 nations at which the Middle East turmoil and the fate of Ukraine will be central topics.

The meeting will take place as world leaders try to contain the growing fallout from the war between Israel and Hamas. Most urgently, they are seeking to persuade Israel not to escalate its conflict with Iran in the wake of Iran’s strikes on Israel over the weekend, which did little damage but involved hundreds of missiles and drones and prompted calls within Israel for a punishing response.

At the opening session, the officials will also discuss Israel’s invasion of Gaza and international efforts to reach a cease-fire deal.

The G7 is a conference of seven industrialized democracies — Italy, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Britain and the United States — as well as representatives of the European Union. The meeting, which is being held on the Mediterranean island of Capri, is a prelude to a summit of G7 leaders scheduled for mid-June in Puglia, Italy.

The G7, which often issues joint proclamations about world events, released a statement on Sunday condemning “in the strongest terms Iran’s direct and unprecedented attack against Israel.” The group also said it would work to “end the crisis in Gaza” through “an immediate and sustainable cease-fire and the release of hostages by Hamas,” and increase the delivery of humanitarian aid to the Palestinian territory.

Talks to at least pause the fighting in exchange for the release of hostages and more aid deliveries have been snagged for weeks. U.S. officials say Hamas has rejected credible Israeli offers and is the main obstacle to resolving the conflict, even as international pressure grows on Israel because of the civilian toll in Gaza.

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