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Conflict and Peace

Stories related to violent conflicts, diplomatic tensions, and conflict prevention, mediation and resolution.

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Anger across the Muslim world and the Global South as US vetoes Gaza cease fire resolution for the 4th time

Anger across the Muslim world and the Global South as US vetoes Gaza cease fire resolution for the 4th time

Commentators and opinion shapers across the Muslim world and the global south on Wednesday (21 February) were unanimous in their condemnation of the American veto of an Algerian resolution in the UN Security Council which called for an immediate cease fire in Gaza. Many commentators in Western countries were similarly appalled after for the fourth time since the start of the war in Gaza, the US on Tuesday vetoed a draft UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire in the embattled territory. It said such a resolution would interfere with ongoing, “sensitive” negotiations, led by Washington, that are attempting to broker an end to the hostilities. Thirteen of the 15 council members voted in favor of the resolution, which was drafted by Algeria. The UK abstained. In addition to the call for an immediate ceasefire, the Arab-backed draft resolution did also demand the immediate release of all hostages. It also rejected the forced displacement of Palestinian civilians, called for the unrestricted flow of humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza, and reiterated council demands that both Israel and Hamas “scrupulously comply” with the rules of international law, especially in relation to the protection of civilians. It also condemned “all acts of terrorism,” without explicitly naming either side.

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Gutteres insists two-state solution is only way forward in the Middle East

Gutteres insists two-state solution is only way forward in the Middle East

UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres, on Monday, 9 October, made a passionate call for a return to negotiations between the sides in the Middle East, and said that "only a negotiated peace that fulfills the legitimate national aspirations of Palestinians and Israelis, together with their security alike – the long-held vision of a two-State solution, in line with United Nations resolutions, international law and previous agreements – can bring long-term stability to the people of this land and the wider Middle East region." Gutteres was speaking as the most serious crisis in the middle East in half a century unfolded following the Saturday morning raids by Hamas militants on towns and settlements in the south of Israel. Whilst unequivocally condemning the attacks, Gutteres said that "this most recent violence does not come in a vacuum. The reality is that it grows out of a long-standing conflict, with a 56-year long occupation and no political end in sight." "It’s time to end this vicious circle of bloodshed, hatred and polarization", the UN Secretary General said in the press briefing, which he held in New York following a meeting with other senior UN officials. Clearly, the UN sees the crisis as one of the most significant in recent years and is brazing itself for a humanitarian catastrophy as Israel launches a large scale punitive action in Gaza with the aim of eradicating completely Hamas, and its political and military capacity. In his statement, Gutteres said that "Civilians must be respected and protected at all times".
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Tragedy continues to unfold in the Middle East

Tragedy continues to unfold in the Middle East

Tragedy continues to unfold in the Middle East, following the Saturday morning audacious attack by Hamas militants against targets in Southern Israel. The Palestinians broke out of Gaza into Israel, captured a number of settlement and military outposts and created havoc amongst civilian communities. The numbers of death in Israel is now above 700. Israel has responded with a massive aerial bombardment of the densely populated Gaza strip - leaving already hundreds dead and many more injured and displaced. The fighting is however not over yet and this tragedy continues to unfold, with most observers thinking it will get much worse. Israel is on Monday primarily focused on clearing Israeli settlements from Palestinian gunmen. This task is made more difficult since some of the gunmen may be holding hostages. There are also reports that new Palestinian militants are crossing over from the Gaza strip even now, and the Israeli Army has not denied this. Israel has mobilised one hundred thousands reservists. This in itself is a big burden on the economy and these reservists will need to return to their civilian jobs as soon as possible. But for the moment Israel is focused on revenge, and on obliterating Hamas. Easier said than done. This is a force that is intricately embedded within the 3.5 million civilian population of Gaza. For Israel to achieve its aim a massive human cost will be necessary.
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Biggest crisis in the Middle East for half a century

Biggest crisis in the Middle East for half a century

The biggest crisis in the Middle East, since the October War in 1973, unfolded yesterday as hundreds of Palestinian fighters broke out of the Gaza Strip, and attacked Israeli towns and settlements nearby. In what is being described as an audacious operation, which was undetected by the Israelis despite it needing months of meticulous preparations and involving large numbers of people, it is reported that three hundred Israelis died and hundreds more were injured. The Palestinian fighters also took dozens of Israeli prisoners. Israeli has unleashed a punitive operation against the Gaza Strip, with rocket raids hitting the densely populated area which is the home of more than three million Palestinians, in what is sometimes described as "the biggest prison in the world".  International Community scrambles to react The international community is scrambling to deal with the situations, and possible fall-out. There has been largely condemnation of the Palestinian attack, especially from the US and Europe, whilst other countries, such as Turkey, called for restraint. In the neighbouring Arab countries the events are being watched closely. Official statements from Arab capitals generally condemned the violence, but in the proverbial "Arab street" the mood is more sympathetic to the Palestinian fighters. The United Nations Security Council will meet Sunday (8 October) in New York. Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland is expected to brief the members of the Council. The meeting was called by Malta, but later the United Arab Emirates also joined the call. According to the authoritative publication "Security Council Report", the meeting was initially requested in the private meeting format but was later changed to consultations after several members expressed a preference for the latter format. While both formats are closed to the public, consultations differ from a private meeting in that it is not a formal meeting of the Security Council. In addition, only Council members can participate in consultations, whereas member states whose interests are directly affected may be invited to participate in a private meeting in accordance with rule 37 and rule 39 of the Council’s provisional rules of procedure.
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They were supposed to be five; they ended up four, but they still had a lot to say

They were supposed to be five; they ended up four, but they still had a lot to say

The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, and the Chancellor of Germany, Olaf Scholz met in Granada with Nikol Pashinyan, Prime Minister of Armenia. The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, and the Chancellor of Germany, Olaf Scholz underlined their unwavering support to the independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of the borders of Armenia. They also expressed their support to the strengthening of EU-Armenia relations, in all its dimensions, based on the needs of the Republic of Armenia. They agreed on the need to provide additional humanitarian assistance to Armenia as it faces the consequences of the recent mass displacement of Karabakh Armenians. They stressed that these refugees must be free to exercise their right to return to their homes and their places of living, without any conditions, with international monitoring, and with due respect for their history, culture and for human rights. They remain committed to all efforts directed towards the normalization of relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan, based on mutual recognition of sovereignty, inviolability of borders and territorial integrity of Armenia (29.800 km2) and Azerbaijan (86.600 km2), as mentioned in President Michel’s statements of 14 May and 15 July 2023. They called for the strict adherence to the principle of non-use of force and threat of use of force. They stressed the urgent need to work towards border delimitation based on the most recent USSR General Staff maps that have been provided to the sides, which should also be a basis for distancing of forces, and for finalizing the peace treaty and addressing all humanitarian issues. They called for greater regional cooperation and for the re-opening of all borders, including the border between Armenia and Türkiye, as well as for the opening of regional connectivity links based on full respect of countries’ sovereignty and jurisdiction, as well as on the principles of equality and reciprocity. The European leaders called on Armenia and Azerbaijan to release all detainees, and to cooperate to address the fate of missing persons and to facilitate demining work.