January 3, 2020
Global powers warned Friday that the world has become a more dangerous place after the targeted US killing of Iran’s top general, urging restraint on all sides.
China, Russia, the UK and France, all permanent members of the UN Security Council, took a dim view of the US airstrike near Baghdad’s airport early Friday that killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who headed the Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force.
“We are waking up in a more dangerous world. Military escalation is always dangerous,” France’s deputy minister for foreign affairs, Amelie de Montchalin, said on RTL radio. “When such actions, such operations, take place, we see that escalation is underway.”
“The priority is to stabilise the region,” she said.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry, via an unnamed diplomat quoted by the state-run TASS news agency, condemned the killing as “an adventurist step that would lead to growing tensions throughout the entire region.”
China described itself as “highly concerned.”
“Peace in the Middle East and the Gulf region should be preserved,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said. “We urge all parties concerned, especially the United States, to maintain calm and restraint and avoid further escalation of tensions.”
Montchalin, the French minister, indicated that urgent reconciliation efforts are being launched behind the scenes. French President Emmanuel Macron and his foreign minister were reaching out to “all the actors in the region,” she said.
Britain called for calm. Foreign minister Dominic Raab said London had “always recognized the aggressive threat” posed by Soleimani and his Quds Force.
He added: “Following his death, we urge all parties to de-escalate. Further conflict is none of our interests.”
Germany also urged restraint and de-escalation.
“We are at a dangerous point of escalation. It is now important through prudence and restraint to contribute to de-escalation,” said Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer.
The NATO military alliance said it was monitoring the situation in Iraq closely with an eye to the safety of its training mission.
“NATO is monitoring the situation in the region very closely. We remain in close and regular contact with the US authorities,” spokesman Dylan White told AFP.