Israel demands UN condemn Iran barrage as Guterres calls for calm

Israel demands UN condemn Iran barrage as Guterres calls for calm

UN chief urges ‘halt to all hostile acts’; Security Council members say no emergency meeting likely after cross-border exchange

Danny Danon briefs journalists on January 25, 2018. (UN/Loey Felipe)
Danny Danon briefs journalists on January 25, 2018. (UN/Loey Felipe)

The Israeli ambassador to the UN called on the Security Council and the secretary-general to immediately condemn Iran’s missile attack and demand that Tehran remove its military presence from Syria, as the head of the world body appealed for calm.

Danny Danon said in letters to the council and UN chief Antonio Guterres that “the international community must not stand idly by while a tyrannical regime attacks a sovereign nation and continues to threaten the very existence of a member-state of the United Nations.”

“Israel is not interested in escalation, but under no circumstances will we allow Iran to establish a military presence in Syria whose purpose is to attack Israel and to deteriorate an already fragile situation in the region,” Danon said.

In the most serious conflagration between the foes to date, Iran launched some 20 rockets at Israel from Syria early Thursday morning, drawing a massive reprisal attack that decimated Iran’s foothold in the civil war-torn country, the Israeli military said.

Antonio Guterres, right, Secretary-General of the United Nations, speaks during a Security Council meeting on April 13, 2018, at United Nations headquarters. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

Guterres appealed Thursday for an “immediate halt to all hostile acts” in the Middle East.

In a statement, Guterres also called on the Security Council to “remain actively seized of the matter and shoulder its responsibilities” under the UN Charter.

“The Secretary-General urges for an immediate halt to all hostile acts and any provocative actions to avoid a new conflagration in the region already embroiled in terrible conflicts with immense suffering of civilians,” a spokesman for Guterres said.

The Security Council, which is deeply divided over Syria, is highly unlikely to issue a statement and no council member has asked for a meeting on the missile exchange.

When asked if they would call an emergency meeting, ambassadors from Poland, Russia, France and Britain all responded: “Not at this point.”

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