BEIRUT — Lebanon on Tuesday asserted before the United Nations Security Council in New York that it had never "wanted or sought war," as the conflict between Israel and Hamas, which broke out following an attack on Israel by the Palestinian group on Oct. 7, spilled over into southern Lebanon with repeated exchanges of fire between Hezbollah and the Israeli state, raising concerns of a new war on this front.
"The caretaker Lebanese prime minister, the caretaker foreign minister, as well as all officials, are making the necessary contacts at the international and local levels, and are making efforts to keep Lebanon away from this bloody conflict," said the chargé d'affaires of Lebanon's Foreign Affairs Ministry, Hadi Hachem, who delivered a speech on behalf of the Lebanese caretaker Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib.
The UN Security Council meeting on Tuesday failed to reach a resolution to end the ongoing conflict.
Hachem emphasized his country's commitment to "respect international law, the United Nations Convention, and Security Council resolutions," adding that "Lebanon never wanted or sought war." He said, "Its goal is to preserve calm along its border, to protect the country's security and its citizens, and to respect UN Resolution 1701 [which ended the 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel] and all related resolutions."
The chargé d'affaires pointed out that in return, the Israelis make "daily offensive statements that threaten to return Lebanon to the Stone Age." Lebanon faces "Israeli verbal and military aggressions with a great deal of restraint, out of respect for international resolutions and to maintain stability in the south," he said.
He also praised the role of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) which has been working in coordination with the Lebanese Army to "contain the escalation and preserve stability." He went on to warn against "measures by the Israeli government that could fan a fire in the region that would be difficult to extinguish."
Addressing the Israeli bombardment of Gaza, Hachem called for an "immediate and urgent cease-fire, the delivery of humanitarian aid, the lifting of the Israeli blockade on Gaza and the protection of civilians." He also cautioned against the danger of "conflict spreading throughout the Middle East and its surroundings."
During the Security Council meeting, UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres called for an "immediate humanitarian cease-fire" and condemned "clear violations of humanitarian law" in the Gaza Strip.