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  • Monday, January 8, 2024 at 5:41 AM
    Last Update : Monday, January 8, 2024 at 5:41 AM

Borrell Says Ending Gaza War is Key to Restoring Calm to Lebanon

(AWP) - Josep Borrell, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said on Saturday that an end to the war on the Gaza Strip is the way to restore calm and stability to Lebanon.

Borrell, in a press conference with Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib in Beirut, said, “I am here when we are seeing worrying intensification of exchange of fire across the Blue Line at the border between Lebanon and Israel. And I think that war can be prevented, has to be avoided and diplomacy can prevail to look for a better solution. It is imperative to avoid a regional escalation in the Middle East; it is absolutely necessary to avoid Lebanon being dragged into a regional conflict.”

He added, “Nobody stands [to win] from a regional conflict. And I am sending this message to Israel too. Nobody will win from a regional conflict. Diplomatic channels have to be open to signal that war is not the only option, it is the worst option. We cannot continue witnessing the suffering of the innocent women, children and other civilians in Gaza. We have to move towards an end to the suffering of civilians in Gaza and to the release of the hostages.”

The EU official pointed to the hardships faced by the people of the Gaza Strip, which has been under bombardment and raids since October 7.

Borrell said, “According to the World Food Programme, 100% of the population of Gaza is now food insecure. We cannot treat Gaza in isolation from the West Bank and East Jerusalem; Gaza is an integral part of the territories occupied by Israel since 1967, and Gaza must be part of the future Palestinian State. The whole international community agrees on the two-state solution. This has been supported by 172 countries at the UN General Assembly. A more stable Lebanon will be more able to defend its interests and safeguard its independence and contribute to regional stability.”

Bou Habib, the Lebanese Foreign Minister, stressed his country’s commitment to peace, stating that only a political solution can bring an end to the conflict that has been ongoing in the region for many years.

He said, “Peace is highly important for the Lebanese and crucial and all the Lebanese insist on it. The Lebanese government seeks de-escalation and the Lebanese are exercising self-restraint.”