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Portugal backs UN in a fierce row with Israel, which vowed to “teach them a lesson”

Portuguese Foreign Minister João Gomes Cravinho stated on Wednesday that his government supported António Guterres’ stance on the Israel-Hamas war amid a dispute between the UN Secretary-General and Israeli authorities, according to Politico.

We fully understand and follow the position of António Guterres, who was unequivocal when he condemned Hamas terrorism. There is no way to say that António Guterres is in any way excusing terrorism.

Gomes Cravinho condemned Israel’s call for Guterres to resign. The Secretary-General was also backed by Germany, with a government spokesman in Berlin stating on Wednesday that it trusted the UN chief.

Guterres claimed at a Security Council meeting on Tuesday that the Hamas attack on Israel on 7 October “did not happen in a vacuum”, prompting a furious reaction from Israel.

In response, Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, announced on Wednesday the refusal to issue a visa to UN Under Secretary-General Martin Griffiths.

Due to his remarks we will refuse to issue visas to UN representatives … The time has come to teach them a lesson.

Guterres’ remarks about a “vacuum” were criticised by Erdan, who stated that “the Secretary-General is completely disconnected from the reality in our region” and urged his resignation. Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen also announced that he would no longer meet with Guterres.

Following the October 7 Hamas attack that killed more than 1,400 people, Israel retaliated with aerial strikes and put the Gaza Strip under “total siege”, cutting off fuel, electricity and water and claiming the lives of more than 6,500 people.

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