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Conflict and Peace

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

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Pope calls for an end to the spiral of violence in the Middle East

Pope calls for an end to the spiral of violence in the Middle East

Pope Francis made a heartfelt appeal on Sunday (14 April), calling for a stop to any actions that may fuel the "spiral of violence" in the Middle East that risk plunging the region into an even wider war. The Pope's appeal follows last night massive drone and missile attack by Iran against Israel in retribution for the earlier Israeli attack on the Iranian diplomatic mission in Damascus. Most of the drones and missiles were intercepted and destroyed by Israeli, US, UK, Jordanian and other forces. The Pope said he is following with "prayer and concern, even sorrow" the news arriving in recent hours about the worsening situation in Israel following the intervention by Iran. He emphasised that nobody should threaten the existence of others, and that instead all nations should "take the side of peace," helping Israelis and Palestinians to live in two States, side by side, in security. He added, "it is their deep and legitimate desire, and it is their right! Two neighboring States." The Pope renewed his appeal for a ceasefire in Gaza and that the path of negotiation be pursued "with determination." Recalling the suffering of the population in Gaza, "plunged into a humanitarian catastrophe," he called for every effort to alleviate their suffering. He prayed that "the hostages kidnapped months ago be released!"  The Pope concluded: “So much suffering! Let us pray for peace. No more war, no more attacks, no more violence! Yes to dialogue and yes to peace!”
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Iran seizes Israel-linked container ship in the Gulf of Hormuz

Iran seizes Israel-linked container ship in the Gulf of Hormuz

Amid heightened tension in the Middle East, and an expectation of some sort of Iranian attack on Israel, it was announced on Saturday (13 April) that Iranian Revolutionary Guards naval units had seized an Israeli linked container ship in the Straits of Hormuz. “A container ship named ‘MCS Aries’ was seized by the Sepah (Guards) Navy Special Forces by carrying out a heliborne operation,” IRNA, the Iranian state news agency reported, adding that the operation took place “near the Strait of Hormuz” and “this ship has now been directed toward the territorial waters” of Iran. Several media sources have aired a video that shows commandos raiding a ship near the Strait of Hormuz by helicopter. The video showed the attack earlier reported by the British military’s United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations. It described the vessel as being “seized by regional authorities” in the Gulf of Oman off the Emirati port city of Fujairah, without elaborating. The vessel involved is likely the Portuguese-flagged MSC Aries, a container ship associated with London-based Zodiac Maritime. Zodiac Maritime is part of Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer’s Zodiac Group. Zodiac declined to comment and referred questions to MSC, which did not immediately respond. The MSC Aries had been last located off Dubai heading toward the Strait of Hormuz on Friday. The ship had turned off its tracking data, which has been common for Israeli-affiliated ships moving through the region. Regional media reported that 20 Filipinos were on board the ship.

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25 June: Azerbaijan Foreign Minister Mammadyarov says that the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan intend to work intensively for the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict; blames Armenia for demanding maximum concessions from Azerbaijan (trend.az)

25 June: Azerbaijan Foreign Minister Mammadyarov says that the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan intend to work intensively for the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict; blames Armenia for demanding maximum concessions from Azerbaijan (trend.az)

Mammadyarov said that discussions in Kazan focused " on issues of concern, which are obstacle to progress in resolving the conflict.