Guterres condemns Iran’s attack on Israel, calls for immediate end to hostilities


“I call for an immediate cessation of these hostilities,” said the Secretary-General in a statement issued in New York early Saturday evening, shortly after what media reports suggest had been hundreds of drones and missiles launched by Iran at Israel.

The UN chief said that he is deeply alarmed about the very real danger of a devastating region-wide escalation.  

“I urge all parties to exercise maximum restraint to avoid any action that could lead to major military confrontations on multiple fronts in the Middle East,” said the Secretary-General, and added: “I have repeatedly stressed that neither the region nor the world can afford another war.”  

Tensions have been ratcheting up in the region since Hamas’ deadly 7 October terror attack and mass hostage taking and Israel’s subsequent full-scale assault on the Gaza Strip, which has left thousands dead and pushed the population to the brink of starvation.

The UN Security Council has scheduled an emergency meeting for 4pm Sunday to discuss this latest flare-up in the region.

Tit-for-tat violence will only lead to ‘more misery’  

For his part, the President of the UN General Assembly, Dennis Francis, also expressed deep concern about the unfolding situation in the Middle East, “involving the launch by Iran of drones and missiles against Israel.”  

In a separate statement, Mr. Francis noted that Iran had explained its action “in the context of article 51 of the UN Charter, following the recent Israeli attack on the Iranian Embassy in Damascus.”

“The Iranian response compounds the already tense and delicate peace and security situation in the Middle East,” said the Assembly President and strongly called upon all parties to exercise the utmost restraint to avoid further escalation of tension in the region.  

“This is a moment that calls for wise and prudent judgement, in which the risks and extended risks are very carefully considered. I expect that the Iranian authorities will honour their word that by their action today, the matter can be deemed concluded.”

Stressing that dialogue and diplomacy are the only way to resolve differences, Mr. Francis warned: “A vicious cycle of attack and counterattack will lead to nowhere, but inevitably, to more death, suffering and misery.” 

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