World cannot afford another war: UN chief Antonio Guterres on Iran’s attack on Israel


PTI, Apr 14, 2024, 11:13 AM IST

United Nations: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has strongly condemned the “serious escalation” caused by the large-scale attack on Israel by Iran, cautioning that neither the region nor the world can afford another war.

The UN chief urged all parties to exercise maximum restraint to avoid any action that could lead to major military confrontations on multiple fronts in the Middle East.

“I strongly condemn the serious escalation represented by the large-scale attack launched on Israel by the Islamic Republic of Iran this evening. I call for an immediate cessation of these hostilities,” Guterres said in a statement on Saturday.

He said he is deeply alarmed about the very real danger of a devastating region-wide escalation.

“I have repeatedly stressed that neither the region nor the world can afford another war,” he said.

The Permanent Mission of Iran to the UN informed the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in a letter that Iran carried out a series of military strikes on Israeli military objectives in the late hours of April 13.

“This action was in the exercise of Iran’s inherent right to self-defence as outlined in Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, and in response to the Israeli recurring military aggressions, particularly its armed attack” on April 1 against Iranian diplomatic premises in Damascus, Syria.

“Regrettably, the United Nations Security Council has failed in its duty to maintain international peace and security, allowing the Israeli regime to transgress red lines and violate the fundamental principles of international law. Such violations have exacerbated tensions in the region and threatened regional and international peace and security,” the Iranian mission said.

It said that Iran will not hesitate to exercise its inherent right of self-defence when required.

“Should the Israeli regime commit any military aggression again, Iran’s response will assuredly and decisively be stronger, and more resolute,” the mission added.

“While warning about any further military provocations by the Israeli regime, the Islamic Republic of Iran reaffirms its unwavering determination to defend its people, national security and interests, sovereignty, and territorial integrity against any threat or acts of aggression and to respond to any such threat or aggressions vigorously and in accordance with international law,” it said.

The UN Security Council will meet on Sunday evening to discuss the situation. 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.

He said that the Iranians have explained their 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,” he said.

Francis 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,” he said.

Francis said he expected the Iranian authorities would honour their word that by their action today, the matter could be deemed concluded.

“A vicious cycle of attack and counterattack will lead to nowhere, but inevitably, to more death, suffering and misery. Dialogue and diplomacy are the only way to resolve any differences through peaceful means,” he said.

Article 51 of the UN Charter states that ‘Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security’.

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