Monday, February 26, 2024

“We cannot have in Lebanon another Gaza”: UN chief

A solution in Gaza will "allow for the de-escalation in other parts of the Middle East", warned United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Guterres warned that he is “extremely worried about Lebanon”.

“We cannot have in Lebanon another Gaza,” said Guterres, adding that he sees serious efforts being made by the Lebanese government, the United States and other parties.

“It is absolutely crucial to avoid a messy confrontation in Lebanon that will be the devastation of the country.”

Guterres also called for a humanitarian ceasefire in order to facilitate the liberation of hostages “immediately and unconditionally”, to provide “effective humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza” and to “facilitate a serious negotiation for de-escalation in Lebanon”.

Tensions have flared along the border between Lebanon and Israel amid intermittent exchanges of fire between Israeli forces and Hezbollah in the deadliest clashes since the two sides fought a full-scale war in 2006.

Dozens of Hezbollah members have been killed in clashes with Israeli forces near Lebanon’s border with Israel since the outbreak of the Gaza conflict on Oct. 7.

The border tension comes amid an Israeli military offensive in the Gaza Strip following a cross-border attack by the Palestinian group Hamas on Oct. 7.

Israel has pounded Gaza since then, killing nearly 24,500 Palestinians and injuring 61,000 others, according to local health authorities.

About 85% of Gazans have been displaced, while all of them are food insecure, according to the UN. Hundreds of thousands of people are living without shelter and ⁠less than half the aid trucks are entering the territory than before the start of the conflict.

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