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Norwegian Refugee Council Urges 'direct Talks Among Diplomats' Over US-Iran Tensions

Jan Egeland, Secretary-General of the Norwegian Refugee Council urged 'de-escalation and direct talks among diplomats', amid the heightened US-Iran tensions.

Norwegian Refugee Council

Amid the escalating tensions between the United States and Iran, Jan Egeland, Secretary-General of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) urged 'de-escalation and direct talks among diplomats'. According to the official site of NRC, Egeland said that millions of people across the Middle East need humanitarian assistance as most of them are already devastated or displaced because of the conflict. The statement from the NRC came after the Ain al-Asad airbase in Iraq that houses the US and coalition forces were hit by multiple rockets during the wee hours on January 8. 

The statement released by the official site of NRC read, “On behalf of the millions in need that have nothing to do with the political conflict, we urge de-escalation of this confrontation and direct talks among diplomats to find solutions. Do not make a difficult situation impossible”. It further stated, “Another confrontation among international and regional powers would be deadly for aid lifelines on the brink of collapse”. 

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The statement further revealed that 24 million war-affected Yemenis and 12 million Syrians displaced within the region are extremely vulnerable to any escalation in conflict, sanctions or restrictions on movement. The sanctions have also 'severely affected' NRC's humanitarian work for around 3 million Afghan refugees living in Iran. Egeland also said that the current situation has made it difficult and dangerous for the field workers to serve the communities in the Middle East. 

READ: Iran Buries Soleimani As It Attacks Iraqi Bases

European Union FMs to meet

To reduce the tensions between the two countries, European Union foreign ministers will also be holding emergency talks on Friday. The European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen who will further raise the situation when she meets British PM Boris Johnson in London later this week, said “the use of weapons must stop” to allow space for dialogue. In an earlier statement released by the Commission's website von der Leyen also declared a need 'to holt the cycle of violence', and further urged Iran to fully comply with the nuclear deal known as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab also said that Britain condemns Iranian missile attacks on military bases in Iraq that hosts US-led coalition forces including British personnel. He further also urged Iran to pursue urgent de-escalation and not to repeat such 'reckless and dangerous attacks'. Further China, Paris, Germany and Spain have also reportedly called on Iran to refrain from any measures that would further aggravate the tensions.

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