UN Chief Warns: Lebanon Cannot Become Another Gaza

 Smoke billows during Israeli bombardment on the village of Khiam in south Lebanon near the border with Israel on June 19, 2024 amid ongoing cross-border tensions as fighting continues between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. (AFP)
Smoke billows during Israeli bombardment on the village of Khiam in south Lebanon near the border with Israel on June 19, 2024 amid ongoing cross-border tensions as fighting continues between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. (AFP)
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UN Chief Warns: Lebanon Cannot Become Another Gaza

 Smoke billows during Israeli bombardment on the village of Khiam in south Lebanon near the border with Israel on June 19, 2024 amid ongoing cross-border tensions as fighting continues between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. (AFP)
Smoke billows during Israeli bombardment on the village of Khiam in south Lebanon near the border with Israel on June 19, 2024 amid ongoing cross-border tensions as fighting continues between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. (AFP)

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Friday he is profoundly concerned by escalating tensions between Israel and Lebanon's Hezbollah and that UN peacekeepers are working to calm the situation and prevent miscalculation.

"One rash move - one miscalculation - could trigger a catastrophe that goes far beyond the border, and frankly, beyond imagination," he told reporters. "Let's be clear: The people of the region and the people of the world cannot afford Lebanon to become another Gaza."

Iran-backed Hezbollah has been firing rockets at Israel in solidarity with its Palestinian ally Hamas since the Gaza war erupted in October, forcing tens of thousands to flee homes in Israel, where political pressure is building for tougher action.

Tens of thousands of Lebanese have also fled their homes following Israeli strikes in south Lebanon.

Iran's mission to the United Nations said on Friday that Hezbollah has the capability to defend itself and Lebanon against Israel, warning that "perhaps the time for the self-annihilation of this illegitimate regime has come."

"Any imprudent decision by the occupying Israeli regime to save itself could plunge the region into a new war," Iran's UN mission posted on X.

The United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) peacekeepers, as well as unarmed technical observers known as UNTSO, have long been stationed in southern Lebanon to monitor hostilities along the demarcation line between Lebanon and Israel, known as the Blue Line.

"UN peacekeepers are on the ground working to de-escalate tensions and help prevent miscalculation," Guterres said.

"The world must say loudly and clearly: immediate de-escalation is not only possible – it is essential," he said. "There is no military solution." 



Sudan, Iran Exchange Ambassadors after 8-Year Rupture

Al-Burhan received the credentials of the Iranian ambassador (Sovereignty Council website)
Al-Burhan received the credentials of the Iranian ambassador (Sovereignty Council website)
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Sudan, Iran Exchange Ambassadors after 8-Year Rupture

Al-Burhan received the credentials of the Iranian ambassador (Sovereignty Council website)
Al-Burhan received the credentials of the Iranian ambassador (Sovereignty Council website)

The head of the Sovereignty Council, Commander of the Sudanese Army, Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, received, on Sunday, the credentials of Hassan Shah, the new Iranian Ambassador in Sudan, after more than 8 years of complete estrangement between the two countries.
In press statements, the Undersecretary of the Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hussein Al-Amin, pointed to the “beginning of a new phase of bilateral relations,” and stressed strong ties between Sudan and Iran.
He added: “The President of the Sovereignty Council welcomed the new ambassador of Iran.”
In turn, the Iranian ambassador said that submitting his credentials “comes within the framework of the common consensus between the two countries regarding the exchange of ambassadors and the promotion of bilateral relations.” He added that he would do his “utmost to strengthen cooperation relations between the Islamic Republic of Iran and Sudan.”
He also noted that his country “supports national sovereignty and the territorial integrity of Sudan.”
In October, Sudan announced the resumption of diplomatic relations with Iran following meetings between officials in the two countries, which lasted for months.
The new rapprochement began during talks between their foreign ministers in Azerbaijan, in July 2023, on the sidelines of the meeting of the Ministerial Committee of the Non-Aligned Movement.
In June 2016, the government of deposed Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir announced that it was severing its relations with Iran and expelling its ambassador from Khartoum.