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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, speaks at a joint press conference with Lebanon’s foreign minister following their meeting in Beirut on January 6, 2024. ― AFP pic
BEIRUT, Jan 6 ― The European Union foreign policy chief today warned against a regional conflict that would involve Lebanon, as border clashes intensified nearly three months into Israel’s war with Hezbollah ally Hamas.
“It is imperative to avoid regional escalation in the Middle East. It is absolutely necessary to avoid Lebanon being dragged into a regional conflict,” Josep Borrell said during a press conference in Beirut with Lebanon’s foreign minister.
“I am sending this message to Israel too: nobody will win from a regional conflict,” he added.
Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah and Israel have exchanged near-daily cross-border fire since Hamas’s unprecedented October 7 attack on southern Israel, which triggered the war.
But a strike that killed Hamas’s deputy leader in Hezbollah’s south Beirut stronghold on Tuesday intensified fears of a wider conflagration. The Lebanese group on Saturday said it retaliated by launching dozens of rockets at a northern Israeli base.
“I think that the war can be prevented, has to be avoided and diplomacy can prevail,” Borrell told reporters.
Earlier Saturday, Borrell met Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati, United Nations peacekeeping force (UNIFIL) commander Aroldo Lazaro and the influential speaker of parliament Nabih Berri.
His visit is part of a diplomatic push to avoid further regional escalation, especially on the Lebanon-Israel border, and call for a solution to the Gaza war.
“Diplomatic channels have to be open to signal that the war is not the only option but it is the worst option,” he said. ― AFP
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