UN chief raps Israel for ‘heartbreaking’ deaths, including 152 staffers’

Iran criticizes ‘unfair’ UNSC veto mechanism

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on Sunday denounced Israel for the “heartbreaking” deaths of Palestinian civilians, including 152 UN staff members in Gaza.
Addressing the opening of a summit of the G77+China in the Ugandan capital Kampala, he called the deaths “a heartbreaking tragedy” for the organization, for their families, and for those they were serving in Gaza.
Guterres was in Kampala to attend the summits of G77+China and the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).
“Israel’s military operations have spread mass destruction and killed civilians on a scale unprecedented during my time as secretary-general,” Guterres said.
Lamenting the humanitarian situation in Gaza, Guterres said, “People are dying not only from bombs and bullets, but from lack of food and clean water, hospitals without power and medicine, and grueling journeys to ever-smaller slivers of land to escape the fighting.”
He also called it unacceptable to resist statehood for the Palestinian people. Guterres added that the refusal to accept the two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians is totally unacceptable, saying denying Palestinians the right to statehood “would indefinitely prolong a conflict that has become a major threat to global peace and security”.
Guterres also warned against letting the war spread to other areas of the Middle East. “We must do all we can to prevent spillover of this conflict across the region – in the West Bank, across the Blue Line between Israel and Lebanon, and in Syria, Iraq and the Red Sea.”
The Gaza Health Ministry said the death toll in the besieged strip has surpassed 25,000 people.
NAM document
A document released late Saturday at the end of the NAM summit included a condemnation of “the illegal Israeli military aggression on the Gaza Strip, the indiscriminate attacks against Palestinian civilians, civilian objects, the forced displacement of the Palestinian population” and called for an immediate and durable humanitarian cease-fire.
On the sidelines of the summit of the NAM in Kampala, the UN chief held a meeting with Iran’s First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber on Saturday.
The Iranian official criticized the veto power existing in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), calling it an unfair mechanism that weakens the UN position.
“If such a power had not existed, many Palestinian women and children would have not been killed because of Security Council resolutions vetoed by the United States,” he added.
He also dismissed the idea of a two-state solution to the conflict between Palestine and the Zionist regime, stressing that the Palestinian people must decide their own fate through the ballot box.
“The Islamic Republic, therefore, rejects a two-state solution to the issue of Palestine and believes that the only democratic solution to the issue is referring to the public votes of all Palestinian people as their right to self-determination without the others making decisions for that nation.” Hailing the UN secretary general’s stances against the Israeli regime’s crimes in Gaza, Mokhber highlighted regional countries’ serious concern about the spread of war with the continuation of the Zionist atrocities.
Guterres said that Iran should act as one of the main pillars of what he called a new Middle East where the country should play an active role in promoting peace.
‘Immediate halt’ to aggression
Meanwhile, Palestinian resistance group Hamas called on Sunday for Israel to immediately stop its “aggression” in Gaza and said only Palestinian people would decide the territory’s future.
Hamas said in a 16-page document justifying its October 7 attacks in southern Israel that it wanted “the immediate halt of the Israeli aggression on Gaza, the crimes and ethnic cleansing committed against the entire Gaza population”.

Reuters, AFP, Tasnim, and Mehr news agency contributed to this report.

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