Guterres demands end to 'hostile acts' after Israel-Iran escalation

United Nations (United States) (AFP) –


UN secretary general Antonio Guterres on Thursday appealed for an "immediate halt to all hostile acts" in the Middle East, following an escalating military confrontation between Israel and Iranian forces in Syria.

In the 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.

Israel launched dozens of punishing air strikes against Iranian targets i Syria Thursday in retaliation for what it said was Iranian rocket fire on its positions in the occupied Golan Heights.

None of the Security Council's 15 members were ready to call an emergency meeting on the situation -- which has prompted calls for restraint from the international community.

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

Danny Danon, Israeli ambassador to the UN, sent letters to the Security Council and the secretary-general calling for condemnation of "Iran's acts of aggression." He also asked the Security Council to "demand that Iran remove its military presence from Syria."