SINGAPORE: The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has called for the “immediate end” to the violence in the Middle East as the Israel-Hamas conflict rages on.
In a statement, the ASEAN foreign ministers said they were “gravely concerned” over the recent escalation of armed conflicts in the Middle East.
“We urge for the immediate end of violence to avoid further human casualties and call for the full respect of international humanitarian law,” the bloc added.
“We call on all parties to create safe, rapid and unimpeded passage of humanitarian corridors.”
Militant group Hamas launched raids into Israel on Oct 7, killing about 1,400 people – most of them civilians – and taking around 200 hostages.
In response, Israel has laid siege to Gaza, carrying out waves of strikes on the Palestinian enclave, enforcing a blockade and massing troops on its border ahead of an expected ground assault.
ASEAN said in its statement: “We strongly condemn the acts of violence which have led to the deaths and injury of civilians, including ASEAN nationals.”
It also reaffirmed its support for a negotiated two-state solution that would allow both Israelis and Palestinians to live side by side in peace and security “consistent with relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions”.
“This will be the only viable path to resolving the root cause of the conflict.”
ASEAN also called on all parties to protect and ensure the safety and security of all civilians, as well as the release of all hostages.
It also re-emphasised its commitment to provide emergency assistance to ASEAN nationals, in accordance with the bloc’s guidelines.
“We urge the international community to support the peace process in order to ensure long lasting peace and stability in the region,” said the statement.