Blinken: ICC arrest warrants would harm hostage deal efforts

An ICC decision to issue arrest warrants against Israeli leaders would complicate efforts for a deal to release the remaining 128 hostages in Gaza, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

He spoke one day after ICC Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan announced his plan to seek arrest warrants against top Israeli and Hamas leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

Khan’s “shameful” and “wrongful” announcement yesterday “only complicates the prospect of getting such an agreement.”


‘Extensive effort to reach agreement’

There’s been an extensive effort … to get that agreement. I think we’ve come very, very close on a couple of occasions. Qatar, Egypt, and others participating in the efforts to do this. We remain at it every single day. I think there’s still a possibility. But it’s challenged by a number of events” such as Khan’s announcement,” Blinken said.

Qatar’s foreign ministry spokesperson Majed Al-Ansari said on Tuesday the Gaza ceasefire and hostage release talks between Israel and Hamas remain “close to a stalemate”.

Asked about the International Criminal Court prosecutor’s decision to seek arrest warrants against some Israeli and Hamas leaders, Al-Ansari said it was too early for Qatar to comment directly on that but that all states and organizations should be “held responsible for the killing of civilians.”

Reuters contributed to this report.