UN chief warns Middle East could be on brink of full scale conflict

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned both the bombing of the Iranian consulate and Tehran’s retaliation against Israel.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has urged for maximum restraint as the entire Middle East region is on the brink of a devastating, full-scale conflict following Iran’s drone and missile attack on Israel this weekend.
The attack came in retaliation for an airstrike on an Iranian diplomatic compound in Syria earlier this month, which killed seven members of Iran’s military, including two generals. Tehran accused West Jerusalem of conducting an extraterritorial assassination, while Israel neither confirmed nor denied responsibility. Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant stated that Israel strikes its “enemies all over the Middle East,” two days after the April 1 consulate strike.
The entire region is facing the danger of a devastating conflict after the events, Guterres warned. “Now is the time to defuse and deescalate,” he said, urging “maximum restraint.”

While he “strongly condemned” the large-scale attack on Israel, he also reiterated his condemnation of the bombing of Tehran’s consular buildings in Damascus earlier this month, calling for an “immediate cessation of these hostilities.”

It’s time to step back from the brink. It’s vital to avoid any action that could lead to major military confrontations on multiple fronts in the Middle East.

Guterres also urged for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, where over 33,000 people were killed in Israeli strikes over the past six months, according to local health officials. West Jerusalem declared war and vowed to annihilate Gaza-based Hamas after the Islamist militants conducted a surprise raid on Israeli soil, killing more than 1,100 people and taking around 250 hostages. The UN has previously warned that the deteriorating humanitarian situation and inadequate flow of humanitarian aid to Gaza is leading to starvation among the displaced civilian population of the enclave.

The UN chief called for an unconditional release of all hostages, unimpeded delivery of humanitarian aid and the reestablishment of safe navigation in the Red Sea, currently hampered by Yemen’s Houthi rebels. The group has been attacking shipping in the region in solidarity with the Palestinians, vowing to continue until the Gaza siege is broken.
With “regional and indeed global peace and security” undermined, Guterres said, “neither the region nor the world can afford more war.”