The United States is “closer than we have been in quite some time” to negotiating a deal with Israel and Hamas to release hostages held in Gaza, deputy national security adviser Jon Finer said Sunday.
“I think we are closer than we have been in quite some time, perhaps closer than we have been since the beginning of this process, to reaching this agreement. And we are following this minute by minute, hour by hour, and we have been for several weeks,” Finer said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Finer was responding to questions about Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, telling reporters on Sunday that negotiations for the release of hostages have improved and that only “very minor” logistical obstacles stand in the way.
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“The agreement has gone through ups and downs from time to time over the past few weeks,” the Qatari leader said. “But I think I’m more confident now that we’re close enough to reach an agreement that can bring people home safely.”
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Finer explained that he would not go into further detail about the negotiations until they are finalized.
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“Delicate negotiations like this can fall apart at the last minute. So we are not going to outline all the details of what is still being discussed. We believe that it is necessary to do so, that there are people held in unconscionable conditions inside Gaza, including several Americans , and that they should be allowed to return home,” the Biden administration official said.
The Washington Post reported Saturday that Hamas was close to agreeing to release at least 50 hostages in exchange for a five-day pause in fighting. Shortly after the report, the White House stressed that no agreement had yet been reached.
There are an estimated 240 hostages held in Gaza. Finer did not detail how many hostages could be freed under a possible deal.
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“I’m not going to give many more details, other than to say that we are talking about much more than 12 [hostages]. But beyond that, I want to see where this goes and I don’t want to say anything that could jeopardize the actual completion of the deal,” he said.