Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: U.S. sending senior diplomat to reassure Palestinians

Barbara Leaf, the State Department’s most senior diplomat for the Middle East, will arrive in Israel this weekend for talks with Israeli and Palestinian officials in Jerusalem and Ramallah, three Israeli and Palestinian officials told Axios. A central goal of the visit is to reassure Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that the Biden administration is committed to the Palestinians and a two-state solution, a source briefed on the trip said. Israeli officials said Leaf is expected to arrive in Israel on Saturday. It will be her first visit to the region in her new role as Assistant Secretary of State for Near East affairs. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Israeli and Palestinian affairs Hady Amr arrived in Israel Wednesday to prepare for Leaf’s visit. During her visit, Leaf will also speak to Palestinian and Israeli leadership about ways to reduce tensions following recent events in Jerusalem, Axios has learned. (https://www.axios.com/2022/06/08/palestinian-authority-biden-administration-israel-visit) A State Department spokesperson said, “We have nothing to announce.”

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