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UN Chief Calls For 'Maximum Restraint' In Gulf

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres speaks during a press conference at the President of Mozambique's Office on July 11, 2019 in Maputo. (Photo by Wikus DE WET / AFP)
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP)

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is again calling for "maximum restraint" in the Persian Gulf region and warning all parties that a new confrontation "would be a catastrophe."

U.N. deputy spokesman Farhan Haq reiterated the U.N. chief's plea to avoid any escalation when asked Thursday for Guterres' reaction to Britain saying Iranian vessels tried to block one of its oil tankers in the Gulf.

Haq said the U.N. hopes all nations "will take steps to avoid" an escalation and confrontation.

Responding to a question on whether the secretary-general supports U.S. and other calls to safeguard ships passing through the Gulf, Haq reiterated Guterres' call to avoid escalation.

"We want, of course, for everyone to allow for the freedom of movement of vessels and we're hopeful that they will abide by that," Haq said.