EU’s Borrell says Middle East on cliff edge, urges Iran-Israel de-escalation

EU’s Borrell says Middle East on cliff edge, urges Iran-Israel de-escalation
EU’s Borrell says Middle East on cliff edge, urges Iran-Israel de-escalation

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell attends a joint news conference with European Commissioner Janez Lenarcic, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and French Foreign and European Affairs Minister Stephane Sejourne as part of an International Humanitarian Conference for Sudan and Neighbouring Countries at the Quai d'Orsay in Paris, France, April 15, 2024. — Reuters pic

MADRID, April 15 — The European Union’s foreign policy chief said today the Middle East stood “on the edge of the cliff” and called for de-escalation in the conflict between Israel and Iran.

Iran launched hundreds of drones and missiles at Israel on Saturday night in response to a suspected Israeli attack on the Tehran’s consulate in Damascus that killed seven officers of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards including two senior commanders.

Israel has neither confirmed nor denied responsibility for the April 1 airstrike on the consulate in Syria’s capital.

“We’re on the edge of the cliff and we have to move away from it,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told Spanish radio station Onda Cero. “We have to step on the brakes and reverse gear.”

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Borrell said he expected a response from Israel to the unprecedented aerial attack by Iran but hoped it would not spark further escalation.

He said there was “profound division” within the Israel’s right-wing governing coalition between hardliners seeking fierce retaliation and a “more moderate and sensible” faction.

That faction advocates for retaliation, Borrell said, “but in a way that avoids a response to the response”.

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Borrell, who spoke with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian late yesterday, said the EU needed to have the best possible relations with Iran despite the sanctions the bloc has imposed on the Islamic Republic over its disputed nuclear energy programme and other issues.

“It’s in everyone’s interest that Iran does not become a nuclear power and that the Middle East is pacified,” he said. — Reuters

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