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Canada, G7 urge 'all parties' to de-escalate in growing Mideast conflict

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Canada called for "all parties" to de-escalate rising tensions in the Mideast following an apparent Israeli drone attack against Iran overnight.

G7 foreign ministers, including Canada’s, and the High Representative for the European Union released a public statement Friday morning. The statement condemned Iran’s "direct and unprecedented attack" on April 13, which saw Western allies intercept more than 100 bomb-carrying drones headed towards Israel, the G7 countries said.

Prior to the Iranian attack, a previous airstrike, widely blamed on Israel, destroyed Iran's consulate in Syria, killing 12 people including two elite Iranian generals.

"I join my G7 colleagues in urging all parties to work to prevent further escalation," wrote Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly in a post on X Friday.

The group renewed its declaration of "full solidarity" with Israel, calling Iran's strikes against that country an "unacceptable step," and one that pushed the region toward greater instability. It also called on Iran to refrain from supporting Hamas, Lebanese Hezbollah and other militant groups.

"We will hold the Iranian government accountable for its malicious and destabilizing actions and we stand ready to adopt further sanctions or take other measures," read the statement.

It did not definitively identify what "other measures" the G7 is considering. 

During a media availability in Victoria, B.C. Friday afternoon, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked what his government is doing to encourage Israeli leaders to de-escalate tensions in the region.

“First of all, we strongly condemn the absolutely irresponsible attack by Iran directly over Israel," he said. "That is absolutely the wrong thing to see in the region. We need to move towards peace and security."

He reiterated calls for a peaceful, two-state solution allowing Palestinians and Israelis to live side-by-side, and for an increased flow of aid into Gaza.

A woman chants slogans as she holds an Iranian flag during an anti-Israeli gathering after Friday prayer in Tehran, Iran, Friday, April 19, 2024. (Vahid Salemi / AP Photo)

Israel strike

Early Friday morning, local time, Iran shot down suspected Israeli drones from a military base in Isfahan, a city 200 kilometres south of Tehran.

Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani, who chaired a G7 meeting hours later in Italy, told the group U.S. officials said they were informed by Israel "at the last minute" that it planned to launch the counterattack.

Earlier this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu brushed off pleas from world leaders not to retaliate to Iran's drone operation in a way that could spur additional conflict. 

Joly herself called on Israel Monday to "take the win" -- referring to the fact that Israel had endured Iran's strike relatively unscathed, The Canadian Press reported.

Israel's response to Iran's strikes leaves the future of the Mideast conflict on shaky ground, as eyes shift back to Iran in anticipation of a potential response.

The Associated Press reported Russian authorities have informed Israel that Iran doesn't want to escalate the conflict further, citing Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who appeared for interviews on several Russian radio stations.

In its Friday letter, the G7 called on "all parties, both in the region and beyond, to offer their positive contribution to this collective effort" of de-escalation.

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