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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will begin a five-day tour of the Middle East and North Africa tour on Saturday.

  • Blinken is scheduled to visit Israel, the West Bank, Algeria, and Morocco. He may meet with Jordan's King Abdullah II in Ramallah but that hasn't been confirmed.
  • The trip comes as relations between the US and partners in the region are tense. Stops in Saudi Arabia and the UAE have been dropped.
  • The State Department says that the trip intends to show US engagement in the region is continuing.
  • Key items on the agenda include:
    • Discussions with Israel over the current state of Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action talks with Iran. Israel has been a consistent critic of the plan to remove sanctions on Iran despite a number of recent diplomatic trips to the country from US officials and lawmakers.
    • High tensions between Algeria and Morocco over the disputed Western Sahara.
    • The delayed reopening of the US consulate in Jerusalem, which served as the US diplomatic mission to the Palestinian Authority.
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