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UN urges all parties to 'step back from the brink', warning Middle East at risk of full-scale conflict

France's spokesperson also condemned Iran's attack, warning of the risk of military escalation and commending Israel's defence efforts
12:43 PM Apr 15, 2024 IST | GK NEWS SERVICE
un urges all parties to  step back from the brink   warning middle east at risk of full scale conflict
UN urges all parties to 'step back from the brink', warning Middle East at risk of full-scale conflict --- File Photo

New Delhi, Apr 15: In an urgent Security Council session convened to address the escalating tensions in the Middle East yesterday evening, UN Secretary-General António Guterres sounded a grave warning, emphasizing the imperative for all parties to step back from the brink of full-scale conflict. The recent exchange of hostilities between Iran and Israel, with hundreds of drones and missiles launched, has plunged the region into a perilous situation.


Guterres stressed the pressing need for collective action to prevent further escalation and mitigate the humanitarian crisis. He called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, the release of hostages, unhindered humanitarian aid delivery, cessation of hostilities in the West Bank, de-escalation along the Blue Line, and the restoration of safe navigation in the Red Sea.


The emergency session was prompted by Israel's accusation of a direct attack by Iran, while Iran cited self-defence in response to previous Israeli military actions. Despite the limited casualties reported, Guterres condemned the use of force and underscored the inviolability of diplomatic premises and personnel.


During the discussion, delegates from various nations echoed Guterres' call for restraint, emphasizing the risk of further violence spiralling out of control. Condemnation was voiced for both the attack on the Iranian consulate and Iran's retaliatory strikes, with warnings of the potential for an unpredictable escalation.


In the face of mounting tensions and the looming threat of broader conflict, the international community urged all parties to prioritize peace and dialogue. The shared responsibility for securing stability and preventing further bloodshed was emphasized as paramount in these critical times.


Iran's delegate defended their country's actions as self-defence, stating that the operation targeted military objectives with minimal civilian harm. They criticized the US, UK, and France for ignoring Israeli attacks on Iranian diplomatic premises and for shielding Israel from accountability in Gaza. They called for an end to economic sanctions and labelled Iran's response to Israeli attacks as legitimate self-defence


The representative of Israel accused Iran of orchestrating the recent attack from multiple territories, including Lebanon, Yemen, Syria, and Iraq. They urged the Council to take concrete action against Iran's ambitions, warning of the potential for a global conflict. Israel emphasized the need to address Iran's support for terror proxies and called for immediate sanctions.


The United States condemned Iran's attack on Israel, labelling it "unprecedented" and expressing concern for the safety of populations in Israel and neighbouring countries such as Jordan and Iraq. The representative emphasized Iran's history of violating international obligations, including arming Hezbollah and facilitating attacks by Houthi militants. They pledged to explore additional measures at the United Nations to hold Iran accountable and affirmed support for Israel's right to self-defence.

France's spokesperson also condemned Iran's attack, warning of the risk of military escalation and commending Israel's defence efforts. They stressed the importance of finding a peaceful resolution to the crisis to avoid further conflict in the Middle East.

The United Kingdom condemned Iran's actions, highlighting the potential for civilian casualties and emphasizing Iran's role in destabilizing the region. They reiterated support for Israel's security and urged all parties to show restraint.

The Russian Federation's representative criticized the Secretary-General for not briefing the Council on April 2 when an emergency meeting was convened following Israeli strikes on consular premises in Damascus. They urged the UN Chief to take a more active stance on various Middle East issues, including Israel's frequent attacks on Syria and Lebanon. Moscow proposed a draft press statement condemning the attacks, but Western countries declined, leading to accusations of hypocrisy and double standards.

Rejecting this perceived inconsistency, the representative emphasized that Iran's actions were a response to what they deemed as the Council's inaction regarding Israel's attack on Damascus. They warned against escalating bloodshed and urged all parties to refrain from further violence.

China's delegate condemned the April 1 attack on Iran's diplomatic premises in Syria as a violation of international law and sovereignty. They noted Iran's assertion that its military response was prompted by Israeli aggression and emphasized the importance of resolving the Palestinian issue to prevent further instability in the region. Stressing the potential for broader conflict, they cautioned against allowing the Gaza conflict to escalate further.

Syria's delegate blamed Israel for regional tensions, accusing them of repeated violations of international law. They called for an end to Israeli aggression in Gaza and demanded the withdrawal of US military presence in Syria.

Algeria's deputy representative at the UN Security Council meeting on Sunday night blamed the Israeli regime for causing the situation to reach this level, saying Iran's response was against Israeli attack on consulate in DamascusWe warn against the dual policy (of America) and the policies should be the same for all countries, Ammar bin Jame said, adding that it is not possible to deal calmly if a country's territory is attacked first and then behave differently when aggressor is being responded.  We are at a crossroads, either we comply with international laws or we face chaos, he added.