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Inviolability of diplomatic and consular premises and personnel must be respected, says ASG Khiari




New York, 2 April 2024


Madam President,

Yesterday, the Islamic Republic of Iran transmitted identical letters to the Secretary-General and to the Security Council stating that Israel had attacked the location of its diplomatic premises in -Damascus by missile strikes, killing at least five Iranian personnel, including senior military advisors, and injuring others. There have been subsequent media reports today that the death toll has risen to 13, seven Iranian personnel and six Syrian citizens.

I reiterate the Secretary-General’s condemnation of the attack.

Let me be very clear: the inviolability of diplomatic and consular premises and personnel must be respected in all cases in accordance with international law. The sovereignty and territorial integrity of Member States must be respected in accordance with international law. The rules-based international order is essential for international peace and security, which this Council is mandated to maintain.

Madam President,

Special Envoy Geir Pedersen has kept this Council apprised of the unrelenting violence on the ground in Syria, which features six foreign armies operating on its territory, impacting the lives of civilians, and moving a peaceful resolution of the conflict farther out of reach. Among them, increasingly lethal attacks on Iran-linked targets in Syria have been attributed to Israel, especially since the current conflict with Hamas in Gaza began on 7 October. Open sources have reported at least a dozen such attacks since the beginning of this year.

While Israel has rarely claimed responsibility for any of these incidents, its officials have repeatedly acknowledged its military operations in Syria and have suggested that more such operations will occur in the future.

We appeal to the Council today, as we do every month, to continue to actively engage all concerned parties to prevent further escalation and the worsening of tensions that undermine regional peace and security.

Madam President,

Allow me to reiterate the Secretary-General’s call on all concerned to exercise utmost restraint and avoid further escalation. I also underline his consistent calls on all parties to respect all their obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law, as applicable, and to avoid attacks that could harm civilians and damage civilian infrastructure. Any miscalculation could lead to broader conflict in an already volatile region, with devastating consequences for civilians who are already seeing unprecedented suffering in Syria, Lebanon, the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and the broader Middle East.

Thank you, Madam President.