World cannot afford another Gaza

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I felt compelled today to voice my profound concerns about escalation between Israel and Hezbollah along the Blue Line.

Escalation in continued exchanges of fire.

Escalation in bellicose rhetoric from both sides as if an all-out war was imminent.

The risk for the conflict in the Middle East to widen is real — and must be avoided.

One rash move – one miscalculation — could trigger a catastrophe that goes far beyond the border, and frankly, beyond imagination.

Let’s be clear: The people of the region and the people of the world cannot afford Lebanon to become another Gaza.

On both sides of the Blue Line, many lives have already been lost, tens of thousands of people have been displaced, and homes and livelihoods have been destroyed.

Bushfires sparked by explosions are further devastating communities and the environment.

Unexploded ordnance and remnants of war litter the landscape.

These pose additional threats to people in both Israel and Lebanon and to United Nations and humanitarian personnel.

The parties must urgently recommit to the full implementation of Security Council resolution 1701 and immediately return to a cessation of hostilities.

Civilians must be protected. Children, journalists and medical workers should never be targeted. And displaced communities must be able to return to their homes.

The world must say loudly and clearly: immediate de-escalation is not only possible – it is essential.

There is no military solution.

Further military escalation will only guarantee more suffering, more devastation to communities in Lebanon and Israel, and more potentially catastrophic consequences for the region.

It is time for reason and rationality. It is time for practical and pragmatic engagement by the parties to the diplomatic and political avenues available to them.

For our part, the United Nations is actively engaging to promote peace, security and stability, in line with Security Council Resolution 1701.

UN peacekeepers – UNIFIL — are on the ground working to de-escalate tensions and help prevent miscalculation in an extremely challenging environment. I deeply appreciate their service.

The cessation of hostilities and progress toward a permanent ceasefire is the only durable solution.

The United Nations fully supports diplomatic efforts to end the violence, restore stability and avoid even greater human suffering in a region that has seen far too much.

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.

Thank you.

By António Guterres

Secretary-General of the United Nations

This news has been read 1055 times!

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