War in the Middle East: Hope for progress in ceasefire talks

According to the President of the World Economic Forum (WEF), there is apparently movement again in the negotiations about the release of more hostages from the Gaza Strip and a possible ceasefire.

War in the Middle East: Hope for progress in ceasefire talks

According to the President of the World Economic Forum (WEF), there is apparently movement again in the negotiations about the release of more hostages from the Gaza Strip and a possible ceasefire. "There is some movement in the talks about the hostages and for a possible way out of the impasse we find ourselves in," said forum president Børge Brende in Riyadh.

Parallel to an economic forum on Sunday and Monday, talks are planned there, including between the foreign ministers of the USA, Great Britain, Germany and several Arab countries as well as with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Hamas releases another hostage video

Meanwhile, the Islamist Hamas has released another hostage video. In it, two men kidnapped from Israel advocate a deal between Hamas and the Israeli government that would see the hostages released. The recording is not dated. One of the men says that he has been in captivity for 202 days. 204 days have passed since the kidnapping on October 7th. The man also regrets not being able to celebrate Passover with his family this year. It is unclear under what circumstances the video was made and whether the two men spoke of their own free will or under pressure and threats.

The second hostage - a man who, according to Israeli media, also has US citizenship - calls in the video to continue the demonstrations for the release of those abducted from Israel in the cities of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

Hamas has already shown footage of the people abducted from Israel several times. These types of videos are classified by Israel as psychological terror against relatives.

Report: London is considering using military force to transport aid

The British government is reportedly considering deploying soldiers to bring relief supplies to the US-built temporary port in Gaza. This was reported by the BBC and Sky News, among others. The floating harbor pier is due to become operational next month to bring additional relief supplies to the coastal strip.

The government in Washington has made it clear that no US soldiers will come ashore in Gaza. Instead, "third parties" were supposed to drive the trucks with relief supplies from the harbor pier to a secure distribution center on the beach, the BBC report said. According to Sky News and BBC, these could be British soldiers.

The government in London did not want to comment on the reports at the request of the German Press Agency. Government circles say the matter has not yet landed on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's desk.

Blinken is also expected in Riyadh

Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan had assembled a "good group," Brende told reporters. The "key players" would meet in Riyadh, including US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who would visit Riyadh on the way from China and before a return visit to Israel. Qatar's Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, whose country, together with Egypt and the USA, is mediating between the Islamist Hamas and Israel, is also expected. Israel will not take part, said Brende.

The Open Forum, a WEF economic conference on, among other things, the environment, health and finance, will take place in Riyadh on Sunday and Monday. In addition to the political discussions parallel to the forum, many issues relating to Gaza need to be discussed. This includes the reconstruction of the coastal area, which was largely destroyed, which will cost “billions”. In addition, freedom of navigation in the Red Sea is still impaired due to the attacks from Yemen.

Baerbock takes part in talks on Monday

The talks about the Gaza war, in which Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock will also take part, are planned for Monday. Already this Saturday, Arab foreign ministers want to find a "united Arab position" in advance and also consult with a representative of the Palestinian Authority - presumably Abbas. However, it was said that he would not take part in the ministerial meeting with Western countries. Egypt's Foreign Minister Samih Shukri traveled to Riyadh today, according to Cairo airport circles.

The news site Axios reported, citing U.S. officials, that Blinken will arrive in Saudi Arabia on Sunday and is expected to meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The US had held talks with Saudi Arabia about its possible normalization of relations with Israel, which were suspended after the start of the Gaza war. However, the Crown Prince continued to express his country's "great interest" in it. According to reports, the kingdom hopes in return for security guarantees from the USA and help in setting up a civilian nuclear program.

Hamas says it has received a new proposal from Israel for a ceasefire in the Gaza war and the release of hostages. “Hamas will examine this proposal and provide a response,” wrote senior Hamas official Chalil Al-Hajaer in a message shared on Telegram on Saturday. Israel is putting Hamas under increasing time pressure in the indirect negotiations over a ceasefire and the release of Israeli hostages and, according to media reports, is threatening the announced ground offensive in the city of Rafah.

Decision on Nicaragua lawsuit on Tuesday

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) will decide on Tuesday on an urgent application in Nicaragua's lawsuit against Germany for complicity in the genocide in the Gaza Strip. This was announced by the highest UN court in The Hague. As interim measures, the Central American country called for an immediate stop to German arms deliveries to Israel and the resumption of payments of frozen contributions to the UN Palestinian relief agency UNRWA in the Gaza Strip.

Nicaragua accuses Germany of aiding and abetting genocide in the Gaza Strip by supplying weapons to Israel. Germany rejected the lawsuit as baseless. At the same time, the federal government had already announced this week that it would soon continue its cooperation with UNRWA in the Gaza Strip.

Two dead after Israeli shelling in Lebanon

According to Lebanese sources, at least two people were killed in an Israeli drone attack in Lebanon. The Israeli military targeted a car in eastern Lebanon, state news agency NNA reported. The Israeli army said a high-ranking member of the Al-Jamaa al-Islamiya organization was killed. This small Sunni organization from Lebanon announced some time ago that it would support the Shiite Hezbollah militia's fight against Israel. The group confirmed the deaths of two of its members in an Israeli attack.

The killed senior member of the organization had planned several terrorist attacks on Israel, the Israeli army said. Since the beginning of the Gaza war, Hezbollah from Lebanon has been firing rockets, artillery and anti-tank grenades into northern Israel - according to its own statements out of "solidarity" with Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Israel responds with air strikes and artillery fire. So far, around 280 Shiite militia fighters have been killed in the fighting in the border area. There have also been several deaths on the Israeli side since then. Civilians also died on both sides.