KATHMANDU, Oct 29: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed his deepest condolences to the families of ten Nepalis killed in a terrorist attack in Israel, while renewing his call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza.
Addressing a press briefing after his meeting with Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal at Singha Durbar on Sunday, Secretary-General Guterres also conveyed his best wishes for the safe return of Bipin Joshi, who is currently missing.
"These are challenging and tense times. I understand that even though the conflict in the Middle East is thousands of miles away, it has deeply affected the people of Nepal," he said.
Secretary-General Guterres, who arrived in Kathmandu in the wee hours on Sunday from Qatar, also called for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages in Gaza. "I unequivocally condemn the abhorrent attacks carried out by Hamas. There is never any justification for the killing, injuring, and abduction of civilians," he stated.
Guterres also expressed concerns about the deteriorating situation in Gaza due to Israel's ground offensive and aerial bombardments. "I regret that, instead of a much-needed humanitarian pause, Israel has intensified its military operations. The number of civilians killed and injured is entirely unacceptable," he added.
With over two million people left with nowhere safe to go and being denied essential necessities such as food, water, shelter, and medical care while facing relentless bombardment, Guterres urged all those with responsibility to step back from the brink. He reiterated his call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, the unconditional release of all hostages, and the delivery of sustained humanitarian relief that adequately addresses the needs of the people of Gaza.
Guterres also called on all parties involved in the conflict to uphold their obligations under International Humanitarian Law. "This law emerged from the tragedy and dreadful experiences of war. I have consistently emphasized the importance of strict compliance with the well-established principles and rules of International Humanitarian Law," he stressed.
He emphasized that the protection of civilians is of utmost importance, and the laws of war establish clear rules to protect human life and respect humanitarian concerns. "These laws cannot be twisted for the sake of convenience," he added.