President of the UN General Assembly, Amb. Tijani Muhammad-Bande, said the Ukrainian plane tragedy resulting from the Iran-U.S. crisis stresses the need for diplomacy in international conflict resolution.
He stated this while outlining his priorities for 2020 at an informal plenary of the Assembly in New York on Monday.
The Boeing 737-800 plane crashed shortly after taking off from the Iranian capital, Tehran, killing all 176 passengers and crew members on board.
The incident occurred amid the launch of missile attacks by the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps on two military bases hosting American troops in Iraq.
The attacks were a response to a U.S. drone strike that killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani also in Iraq days earlier.
Muhammad-Bande said the “need to work harder on achieving peace and security is evident” in the current tragedy.
“If ever diplomacy should achieve its purpose, this is one urgent area it must show its face,’’ the PGA said.
Iran initially denied media reports that its forces accidentally shot down the plane during the missile attacks, but later accepted “full responsibility” for the crash.
President Hassan Rouhani said investigation found that the plane was brought down by “missiles fired due to human error”.
Noting that international peace and security were critical to actualizing the Sustainable Development Goals, the PGA urged the UN Security Council and other relevant actors to find lasting solution to the crisis.
“This crisis can also not be dissociated from the larger situation in the Middle East.
“It is thus critical that we find solutions to the Israel–Palestine conflict or question, as with those in Syria, Yemen, Libya and others,’’ he said.
Muhammead-Bande said he would vigorously engage with the President of the Security Council, the UN Secretary-General and others who could assist in finding permanent solutions to the conflicts.