Madam President,

I thank you for convening this meeting.

I also thank the United Nations Secretary-GeneralH.E. António Guterres, for his important briefing on the latest gravely concerning development in the Middle East. 

Sierra Leone refers to an identical letter of 13 April 2024 from the Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations addressed to the President of the Security Council (S/2024/304) confirming a request to “convene a meeting of the Security Council immediately”; and letter dated 13 April 2024 from the Permanent Representative of Iran to the United Nations to the President of the Security Council and the Secretary-General (S/2024/305).   

Document S/2024/304, the identical letter of 13 April 2024 from the Permanent Representative of Israel, informs that “Iran […]launched a direct attack from within its territory of more than 200 UAVs, cruise missiles, and ballistic missiles towards Israel in clear violation of the UN Charter and international law.

On the other hand, document S/2024/305, the letter dated 13 April 2024 from the Permanent Representative of Iran, informs that “in the late hours of 13 April 2024, the Islamic Republic of Iran carried out a series of military strikes on Israeli military objectives”. 

In addition to his briefing to the Security Council in this meeting, we take note of the timely Statement by the Secretary-General regarding attacks by the Islamic Republic of Iran targeting Israel, in which he “strongly condemns the serious escalation represented by the large-scale attack launched on Israel by the Islamic Republic of Iran” and called for an immediate cessation of these hostilities.

Madam President, 

The Middle East region is once again and regrettably at  dangerous cross-roads. The escalating tension in the Middle East is dangerous and unprecedented with the potential to destabilize not only the entire region, but impact global peace and security.

Less than two weeks ago, in this Council, Sierra Leone strongly condemned the use of force in violation of the UN Charter, relevant international law, including the development and conduct of friendly relations, diplomatic and consular protections as well as conduct in the region that may lead to an escalation or exacerbate tensions in the already volatile situation. In a similar way, Sierra Leone strongly condemns claimed reprisal attacks not in conformity with international law and the UN Charter.

With the Middle East at a knife’s edge, and at the precipice of a dangerous escalation, either by an intentional calculus or accidental one, with equally grave global ramification, the path to peace is certainly not “tit-for-tat” military attacks, but rather de-escalation and diplomatic engagement. To this end, we call on both parties, and all other involved parties, to exercise maximum restraint and resist the urge to the further resort to the use of force.

We call on the parties and all other involved parties to be mindful of their obligations under international law, the UN Charter, and comply with all relevant Security Council resolutions. The parties are unequivocally obligated to comply with their international law obligations, the UN Charter principles, and provisions in good faith, in particular the imperative for the peaceful resolution of disputes, and respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of each State.

In urging de-escalation, Sierra Leone is also mindful of the ongoing hostilities in the Gaza Strip and further imperative for the full implementation of Security Council resolutions 2712 (2023), 2720 (2023) and 2728 (2024). The United Nations must not retreat from its important purpose and role in confronting the consequential challenges of our times. The Security Council must continue to play its part, as envisaged by the UN Charter. 

Further, Sierra Leone expresses full support for the UN Secretary-General and his envoys and representatives to use the good offices of our organization to lead efforts in ensuring de-escalation. All involved parties must move onto the path of peace, peaceful co-existence and good neighborliness through negotiations. States with influence over the parties are called upon to leverage such influence for de-escalation and peace. 

Let us choose peace, security, and stability over war. 

I thank you.

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