UNITED NATIONS, Nov 10 (APP):Voicing serious concern over the escalating tensions between Saudi Arabia and Lebanon, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Friday he was had made urgent contacts with leaders of the two countries in an effort to prevent a new conflict in the region.
“We are indeed very worried, and we hope we won’t see an escalation,” he told reporters at UN Headquarters in New York before his departure for Bonn. “It is essential that no new conflict erupts in the region, it could have devastating consequences.” The UN chief said he had “very intense” contacts at political and diplomatic levels yesterday with Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and other countries in the region.
His comments came in the wake of heightening tensions between the two Middle Eastern nations as part a looming Saudi Arabia-Iran confrontation.
Guterres said he had been telling the political leaders and diplomats that it was important to preserve Lebanon’s unity and stability “and the functioning of the Lebanese institutions.” In the midst of the conflict is Saad al-Hariri, Lebanon’s former prime minister, who unexpectedly resigned his post over the weekend. Lebanese authorities have said he was being held against his will in Saudi Arabia, a charge that Riyadh had denied.
The way Hariri resigned was “unacceptable,” Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun told Saudi Arabia’s envoy at a meeting in the presidential palace outside Beirut on Friday, according to the National News Agency. Aoun also met with envoys from the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Jordan.
The International Support Group for Lebanon, which includes Russia, the U.S., the European Union and other countries, said it welcomed the demand for Hariri’s return.