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Montevideo, July 13th 2024 - 21:36 UTC



Lebanon should not become “another Gaza,” Guterres warns

Monday, June 24th 2024 - 09:40 UTC
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Any false move could trigger a conflict of unimaginable consequences, the UN Chief predicted Any false move could trigger a conflict of unimaginable consequences, the UN Chief predicted

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres warned that the world “cannot afford Lebanon to become another Gaza.” He made those remarks as tension and gunfire mounted between the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terrorist organization and Israel. Guterres spoke of a “bellicose rhetoric” between both parties and insisted that one false move could trigger a catastrophe for the whole region and beyond.

 The situation along the Blue Line between Israeli and Lebanese armed forces has been deteriorating since Tel Aviv launched its offensive in the Gaza Strip following the brutal Oct. 7 attack by Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups against communities in southern Israel.

Speaking to the press at the UN Headquarters in New York, Guterres underscored that a widening of the conflict in the Middle East must be avoided. “Let’s be clear: The people of the region and the people of the world cannot afford Lebanon to become another Gaza,” he stressed. “One rash move – one miscalculation – could trigger a catastrophe that goes far beyond the border, and frankly, beyond imagination,” he said. He also highlighted that on both sides of the Blue Line, many people have already lost their lives and been driven from their homes and livelihoods. Hence, he urged both sides to fully implement Security Council resolution 1701 and immediately return to a cessation of hostilities.

Adopted in 2006, the resolution set in motion a ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah, the withdrawal of Israeli forces from southern Lebanon, and the establishment of a demilitarized zone. “The world must say loudly and clearly: immediate de-escalation is not only possible – it is essential,” Guterres added, In his view, “there is no military solution,” he also said while underscoring the need to protect civilians, including children, journalists and medical workers. In addition, those displaced need to be able to return to their homes.

Guterres also said the UN was “actively engaging” to promote peace, security, and stability, in line with resolution 1701. “UN peacekeepers, UNIFIL, are on the ground working to de-escalate tensions and help prevent miscalculation, in an extremely challenging environment,” he said, adding that the Organization fully supports diplomatic efforts to end the violence, restore stability and avoid even greater human suffering in the region.

“And we do so as we continue to press for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, the immediate and unconditional release of the hostages, and a real pathway to a two-state solution.”

After Hezbollah senior commander Hajj Sami Taleb Abdullah was killed in an Israeli strike on southern Lebanon last week, the group announced it was ready for a full-scale conflict and could invade Israel's northern territories in case of further escalation. On the other side, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said his country was “very close” to a decision that would “change the rules of the game.” Rocket exchanges between Israel and Hezbollah have forced more than 53,000 Israelis and almost 100,000 Lebanese to flee their homes over the past nine months.

Categories: Politics, International.

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