G7 leaders condemn Iran attack on Israel as issue expected to top EU agenda – Euractiv


G7 leaders unanimously condemned Iran’s unprecedented attack on Israel on Sunday (14 April), calling for “restraint” from all sides to prevent a regional war, as international concerns keep growing, pushing the issue to the top of the EU’s agenda for next week.

The extraordinary meeting, convened by Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, came after Iran launched more than 300 missiles and drones against Israel on Saturday night.

The attack was its first ever to directly target Israeli territory, with Tehran saying it was retaliation for a deadly air strike that destroyed its consular building in Syria’s capital Damascus early this month.

In a joint statement after the talks, G7 leaders accused Iran of further stepping “toward the destabilisation of the region”, adding that Tehran “risks provoking an uncontrollable regional escalation”.

“This must be avoided,” the statement said.

The region has been on high alert on Sunday as Israel’s war cabinet debates whether and how to retaliate against Iran, in what Western leaders fear could cause the conflict to spread across the region.

“We will continue to work to stabilise the situation and avoid further escalation,” G7 leaders said.

“In this spirit, we demand that Iran and its proxies cease their attacks, and we stand ready to take further measures now and in response to further destabilising initiatives.”

G7 leaders also vowed to strengthen cooperation “to end the crisis in Gaza, including by continuing to work towards an immediate and sustainable ceasefire and the release of hostages by Hamas, and (to) deliver increased humanitarian assistance to Palestinians in need.”

The statement echoed widespread fears of ‘unprecedented escalation’, with Europeans earlier on Sunday having condemned Iran’s attack on Israel, with many of them expressing concern over the danger of a devastating region-wide escalation.

EU expected to focus on Iran

For his part, European Council President Charles Michel wrote on X following video talks that “we unanimously condemned Iran’s unprecedented attack against Israel”.

“We will continue all our efforts to work towards de-escalation. Ending the crisis in Gaza as soon as possible, notably through an immediate ceasefire, will make a difference,” he added.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced after the G7 talks that the EU “will reflect on additional sanctions against Iran in close cooperation with our partners, specifically on its drone and missile programs”.

Such a step would according to some EU diplomats be double-effective as it would also limit Tehran’s capacity to supply drones to Russia for its war in Ukraine.

The EU’s chief diplomat Josep Borrell, who called the Iranian attack “an unprecedented escalation and a grave threat to regional security,” said on Sunday he planned to convene an extraordinary videoconference of EU foreign ministers for Tuesday.

“Our objective is to contribute to de-escalation and security of the region,” Borrell said on X.

The situation in the Middle East, including Lebanon, is expected to be on the agenda when EU leaders meet for an informal summit in Brussels on Wednesday and Thursday.

[Edited by Zoran Radosavljevic]

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Read More: G7 leaders condemn Iran attack on Israel as issue expected to top EU agenda – Euractiv

2024-04-14 21:00:00

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