The director of the C.I.A. is set to make a renewed push for negotiations over the release of hostages held in Gaza and an extended cease-fire, according to U.S. officials, who said he would meet with senior Israeli, Egyptian and Qatari officials in Europe.
The officials hope to close a wide gap between Israel and Hamas, especially on two issues: the length of any pause in fighting and the fate of Hamas leaders in Gaza, according to officials briefed on the talks.
Here is a look at where the talks stand.
How are the negotiations going?
A weeklong truce in November allowed the release of more than 100 of the hostages abducted in Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack on Israel; 240 Palestinian prisoners were released as part of that deal. Since then, both sides have staked out seemingly intractable positions for another such agreement.
The talks have advanced in fits and starts, with the leader of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency meeting with Qatari officials in both Qatar and Europe. Many of Hamas’s political leaders are based in Qatar. Egypt, which borders the Gaza Strip, has also played a key role.
William J. Burns, the C.I.A. director, is going to meet with senior Israeli, Egyptian and Qatari officials, according to U.S. officials. They said Israel’s apparent willingness to agree to a longer cessation of hostilities as part of any further hostage releases has created a new opening for negotiations.
Any new deal would likely include phased releases of hostages, though the White House is hoping that a bigger deal, leading to the release of the remaining hostages, might be possible. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive diplomacy.