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PARIS: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will hold talks in Paris on Tuesday after a Washington-based NGO was struck by an Israeli airstrike in central Gaza, adding pressure on the United States to toughen its stance in the war between Israel and Hamas.

Blinken arrived in the French capital before heading to Brussels for a NATO ministerial meeting on Wednesday.

He is scheduled to visit, with Defence Minister Sebastien Lecornu, a weapons’ factory providing howitzer canons to Ukraine, before meeting with Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne and with President Emmanuel Macron.

Macron has in recent weeks adopted a more hawkish stance towards Russia, amid fears that Ukraine is losing ground and support in the war, notably as the United States struggles to approve a multi-billion dollar military aid package for Kyiv.

While Ukraine will be high on the agenda, events in the Middle East are likely to take centre stage after the Israeli strike in Gaza that killed staff from World Central Kitchen.

Suspected Israeli warplanes bombed Iran’s embassy in Syria on Monday in a strike that Iran said killed seven of its military advisers, including three senior commanders, marking a major escalation in Israel’s war with its regional adversaries.

Israel airstrike on Gaza kills foreigners working for celebrity chef’s NGO

France on Monday proposed a draft United Nations Security Council resolution that seeks options for possible UN monitoring of a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and proposals to help the Palestinian Authority assume responsibilities.

The United States, which last blocked a French-backed resolution in 1997, abstained from a vote last month to allow the 15-member council to demand an immediate ceasefire for the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which ends next week.

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