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Iran Press TV

Iran opposes war in Ukraine, ready to assist with relief efforts: FM to Red Cross

Iran Press TV

Thursday, 03 March 2022 6:41 AM

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian has renewed the call for a political settlement of the conflict pitting Russia against Ukraine, saying Tehran is ready to cooperate with the International Red Cross in providing humanitarian assistance.

In a phone call on Wednesday, Amir-Abdollahian and President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Peter Maurer discussed aid delivery in border areas of Ukraine and the humanitarian situation in Yemen and Afghanistan as well as ways to boost bilateral relations.

The Iranian foreign minister stressed the importance of resolving the Ukraine crisis politically and said, "War is not a solution."

Right after the conflict broke out, Iran began making efforts to support its citizens in Ukraine and set up a special committee in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to improve the humanitarian situation, he said.

The top Iranian diplomat called for strengthening cooperation between the ICRC and the Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS) in this regard.

On 24 February, Russia started an all-out military operation in Ukraine after leaders of the self-proclaimed republic in the Donbass region called for assistance in the face of shelling by Kiev's army. Moscow had just recognized the sovereignty of the breakaway republics.

Moscow says the goal of the invasion is to "demilitarize" and "de-Nazify" Ukraine.

According to UN estimates, at least one million Ukrainians have already fled to neighboring countries.

Maurer, for his part, briefed the Iranian foreign minister on his talks with the Russian and Ukrainian officials about the dispatch of humanitarian aid, the exchange of dead soldiers and the provision of access to prisoners of war.

The ICRC president said Ukraine is grappling with a tough and critical situation.

Amir-Abdollahian and Maurer agreed that medical and relief teams of the IRCS and the ICRC would be deployed in border areas to help the displaced.

Iran explains abstention from UN anti-Russia resolution

Meanwhile, Iran's Permanent Ambassador to the United Nations Majid Takht Ravanchi explained why Tehran abstained from voting on an anti-Russian UN General Assembly resolution.

"We believe that the current text of the resolution before the General Assembly lacks impartiality and realistic mechanisms for resolving the crisis through peaceful means. Furthermore, not all member states of the United Nations were given the opportunity to engage in negotiations on the text of the resolution," Takht Ravanchi said on Wednesday.

The United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday voted in favor of a United States- and Albania-drafted anti-Russian resolution. A similar resolution was not upheld in the Security Council because Russia-- a permanent member, vetoed it.

The Assembly adopted the resolution, with 141 votes in favor, five negative votes, and 35 abstentions.

It "deplores" Russia's ongoing military operation in Ukraine, demanding that Moscow stop fighting and withdraw its military forces.

Takht Ravanchi said Iran is pursuing the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine with grave concern and reiterated Tehran's principled stance on the need for a peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with international law and for all parties to fully respect the well-established provisions of the UN Charter and international humanitarian law.

"We emphasize that sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states must be fully respected and safety and security of all civilians must be guaranteed," the Iranian diplomat said.

He stressed the importance of addressing the root causes of such crises in order to find long-term and sustainable solutions to them, saying, "We note that the current complexities in the fragile region of Eastern Europe have been exacerbated by the provocative actions and decisions of the US and NATO. The security concerns of Russia must be respected."

He expressed Iran's opposition to wars and destruction inflicted on civilian lives and infrastructures, no matter where they occur.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran calls for urgent cessation of hostilities and de-escalation of tensions in the current conflict. In this regard, Iran underlines the essentiality of dialogue to address issues of concerns to all sides leading to long-lasting results," Takht Ravanchi added.

He urged the UN to avoid double standards, particularly on issues related to the maintenance of international peace and security, saying, "It is unfortunate to note that the UN, in particular the Security Council, has at times neglected this principle which has undermined its credibility. A case in point is the Security Council's handling of the conflict in Yemen."

He added that the Iranian government would continue to call for a "comprehensive, peaceful, and sustained" resolution to the current conflict "including an immediate ceasefire and start of the dialogue as well as provision of humanitarian assistance to the people in need."

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