UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said he would continue his active engagement to de-escalate tensions and avert full-scale war, which the “world cannot afford.” He was reacting to the on-going tense situation between Iran and the United States .
In a statement released by his spokesperson Stephane Dujarric , Guterres re-iterated the “passionate appeal for peace” he made on Monday, after tensions rose dramatically across the whole Gulf region, following the killing of the top Iranian general, Qasem Soleimani, in a US drone strike.
Iran said it had carried out pre-dawn ballistic missile attack on Wednesday against two airbases used by the US and other coalition forces in Iraq, in retaliation for the targeted killing on the outskirts of Baghdad airport on Friday.
The bases struck were the large Al Asad base, west of Baghdad, and another in Erbil, the centre of Iraq’s Kurdish region. The strikes came just hours after the burial of the influential general, marked by huge crowds, in Iran.
The UN chief repeated his four-point message to world leaders, too, “Stop escalation. Exercise maximum restraint. Re-start dialogue”, and “renew international cooperation.” “This appeal remains as important today as it was on Monday. For his part, the Secretary-General will continue his active engagement with relevant actors,” the statement said.
Guterres said it is “our common duty to make every effort to avoid a war in the Gulf that the world cannot afford. We must not forget the terrible human suffering caused by war. As always, ordinary people pay the highest price,” Guterres said.