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The White House says reports of a move toward a cease-fire between Israel and the militant Hamas group that rules the Gaza Strip are “clearly encouraging” but cautioned that a truce has yet to be agreed on.
Watch the briefing in the video player above.
Press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday that the White House believes the Israelis have achieved “significant military objectives” in their strikes against Hamas targets, which is why President Joe Biden expects them to start “winding down” their operation there.
Psaki says the Biden administration has conveyed that to the Israeli side “and that is what we expect to happen.”
She said the United States’ “strategic approach here is to communicate directly, stay closely interlocked with the Israelis, with partners on the ground, to do everything we can to bring an end to the conflict.”
She also said the U.S. has “held more than 80 engagements with senior leaders in Israel, the Palestinian Authority and across the region.”
Psaki also said the U.S. “remains engaged” in indirect talks wtih Iran over bringing Washington and Tehran back into compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal.
She said the administration always knows “there will be bumpy roads, there will be different assessments, but we are continuing to work toward progress.”
The White House also defended its decision not to punish the company overseeing a Russia-Germany pipeline project that Washington opposes. The Nord Stream 2 pipeline has been an irritant in relations between the U.S. and Germany for years.
The Biden administration argues the pipeline threatens European energy security, heightens Russia’s influence and poses risks to Ukraine and Poland in bypassing both countries.
“We continue to convey that it’s a bad idea, a bad plan, and we have also… taken actions over the last several days to make that clear,” Psaki said.
On Wednesday, the Biden administration imposed sanctions on Russian companies and ships for their work on the pipeline, but Biden angered opted not to punish Nord Stream 2 AG, the company overseeing the project.
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