ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has opened his third day of meetings on an urgent Mideast diplomatic mission to prevent Israel's war against Hamas in Gaza from exploding into a broader regional conflict.
Blinken was meeting Monday with United Arab Emirates leader Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed before traveling to Saudi Arabia for talks with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman aimed at enlisting the key Arab leaders in a push to not only keep the war contained but also prepare for post-conflict Gaza's future.
With Sheikh Mohammed in Abu Dhabi Blinken “emphasized the importance of preventing further spread of the conflict and stressed continued U.S. commitment to securing lasting regional peace that ensures Israel's security and advances the establishment of an independent Palestinian state,” the State Department said.
Blinken arrived in Abu Dhabi from similar meetings in Qatar, Jordan, Turkey and Greece, where he claimed at least modest success in his mission with pledges from those countries to consider contributing to the effort to plan for Gaza's reconstruction and governance once the fighting has ended. Gaza has been decimated by three months of Israeli bombardments that have sparked anger around the world for the massive damage and huge number of civilian casualties.
Financial and in-kind support from the UAE and Saudi Arabia will be essential to the success of any such…