Israel-Iran tit-for-tat attacks threaten never-ending cycle of reprisal, wider-scale confrontation: Egypt FM to CNN

Ahram Online , Wednesday 17 Apr 2024

Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said on Tuesday that the tit-for-tat reciprocal targeting between Israel and Iran "is in no way conducive" to dealing with the long-standing issues and conflicts in the region; rather, "it will only lead to a never-ending cycle of reprisal."

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry


"This will get us into a never-ending cycle of reprisal that will only lead to a wider-scale confrontation, with very severe consequences for both peoples in both countries," Shoukry said during an interview with CNN’s Becky Anderson.

Speaking about Egypt's de-escalation efforts between Israel and Iran, Shoukry said that he spoke to his Israeli and Iranian counterparts to convey the importance of "maintaining tranquillity and peace" in the region.

"I've spoken to both foreign ministers in an effort to convey the importance of maintaining tranquility and peace and not to engage in a cycle that will only bring about more instability and will have a very negative effect on the peoples of the region," he said.



Shoukry said that this constant resort to military activity "of one kind or another" is not in any way helpful.

He stressed the need to deal with the ongoing situation in Gaza, describing it as "a humanitarian crisis in an unprecedented dimension."

"We have to deal with the overall security instability of the region," Egypt's top diplomat emphasized during the interview.

On Saturday, Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) launched an unprecedented drone and missile attack on Israel, in response to an Israeli strike on the Iranian consulate in Damascus on 1 April.

Following the attack, Egypt expressed its deep concern over the signs of escalation between Iran and Israel, urging all parties involved to exercise utmost restraint.

Gaza Crisis

Speaking on the possibility for Egypt to temporarily allow the entrance of Palestinian refugees from the Gaza Strip in case of a military action in the Palestinian city of Rafah, Shoukry said that Egypt will continue to act in the best interests of the Palestinian people.

"The mass displacement of Palestinians caused by Israeli military action in Rafah would amount to a war crime," he said.

Meanwhile, Shoukry said that talks on securing a hostage deal and ceasefire in Gaza are ongoing and "have never been severed."

"I don't think it's positive or constructive that we try to define any party's position related to the discussions and negotiations that have been ongoing," he said replying to a question about Hamas' recent rejection of the latest proposal on hostage deal.

"At various times there have been various positions taken," he said.

Furthermore, Egypt's FM emphasized the importance of reaching a consensus between both sides to achieve a ceasefire, secure the release of hostages and detainees, and provide humanitarian aid to the besieged Strip.

"At this stage, we have not reached that point as yet, but we are working hard in conjunction with the US and with our Qatari partners to arrive at this point of agreement," he revealed.

Recently, Israel has been facing growing international pressure, including from its top ally the US, to cease fire and refrain from its threatened offensive against the Palestinian city of Rafah.

Although the talks have not collapsed, Israel and Hamas have accused each other of undermining negotiations for a truce in Gaza and a captive release deal.

Weeks ago, a Hamas official stated that there is “nothing new” in the latest round of talks in Cairo to reach a Gaza ceasefire, as Israel has not altered its position.

Similarly, an Israeli official denied any significant progress in the negotiations, emphasizing that a considerable gap still exists between both sides.

Since the outbreak of the war in Gaza, Israel has killed 33,843 Palestinians and wounded 76,575 others, most of whom are women and children.

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