UN chief calls for immediate action to avert crisis in Middle East

UN chief calls for immediate action to avert crisis in Middle East
# 19 April 2024 01:25 (UTC +04:00)

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday called for immediate action to avert a crisis in the Middle East, APA reports.

"The Middle East is on a precipice," the top UN official told the Security Council's quarterly open debate on "the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question," emphasizing the severe recent escalations in both rhetoric and actions.

He warned that "one miscalculation, one miscommunication, one mistake, could lead to the unthinkable -- a full-scale regional conflict that would be devastating for all involved -- and for the rest of the world."

Guterres strongly condemned the large-scale attack launched by Iran on Israel on April 13, underscoring that such acts of aggression violate the UN Charter. He reiterated the importance of respecting the inviolability of diplomatic and consular premises and personnel, as exemplified by his condemnation of the earlier attack on the Iranian consulate in Damascus.

"It is high time to end the bloody cycle of retaliation. It is high time to stop," the UN chief declared. He called for international cooperation to prevent actions that could further destabilize the Middle East, stressing that "the risks are spiraling on many fronts."

Focusing on Gaza, he called for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire and the release of all hostages, describing the situation there as a humanitarian hellscape exacerbated by continuous Israeli military operations. "Ending the hostilities in Gaza would significantly defuse tensions across the region," he said.

The UN chief detailed the dire conditions in Gaza, where severe restrictions on humanitarian aid have left many facing starvation. He noted some progress in aid delivery but stated that the efforts are often hampered by operational and security constraints.

He also addressed the broader regional implications, emphasizing the need for a comprehensive approach to de-escalation and peace. "The international community has a shared responsibility to do everything possible to make this happen," he urged.

In conclusion, Guterres reiterated the UN's commitment to supporting peace efforts and called for all parties to work towards a sustainable, two-state solution that respects international law and UN resolutions.