Biden, Qatari leader talk hostages, humanitarian aid to civilians in Gaza

President Biden on Sunday spoke to Qatar’s leader, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, about ongoing efforts to increase humanitarian assistance into Gaza and to secure the release of all hostages held by Hamas, which includes a 3-year-old American toddler.

Biden thanked the Qatari leader personally for “his earlier efforts to secure the release of hostages from Hamas, including two American citizens, and the urgent ongoing efforts to secure additional releases,” according to a readout of the call.

One hostage in Hamas’s custody, according to the White House, is a 3-year-old American, whose parents were killed by Hamas on Oct. 7. There are about 240 hostages taken from Israel and being held in Gaza.

“The two leaders agreed that all hostages must be released without further delay,” the readout said.

Qatar has been a key player in negotiations between Hamas and Israel to try and secure the release of hostages — a point underscored by national security adviser Jake Sullivan in multiple Sunday show appearances this weekend.

On providing aid and protection for civilians, the readout said, “The two leaders discussed the need to protect innocent civilians and ongoing efforts to increase the continuous flow of urgently needed humanitarian assistance into Gaza.”

The readout said the leaders shared a vision for peace in the region.

“The President affirmed his vision for a future Palestinian state where Israelis and Palestinians can live side by side with equal measures of stability and dignity. He noted that Hamas has long been an impediment to that outcome,” the readout read.

“The two leaders agreed to continue their efforts to advance a shared vision for a more peaceful, secure, prosperous, and stable Middle East region,” it added.

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