German Foreign Minister urges 'maximum restraint' in Middle East

Capri, Italy, April 17 (IANS/DPA): German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has called on Iran and Israel to show "maximum restraint" amid fears that the conflict in the Middle East could expand into a major regional war.

"A spiral of escalation would serve no one," Baerbock warned just after arriving on the Italian island of Capri ahead of a meeting of the Group of Seven (G7) major industrialised democracies.

She said that further escalation endangers the security of Israel, the lives of the dozens of hostages still being held in the Gaza Strip by Palestinian militants, civilians in Gaza as well as the "many people in Iran who are themselves suffering under the regime."

With regard to the recent Iranian attacks on Israel, Baerbock said that the aim was to prevent "the highly dangerous situation in the Middle East from turning into a regional conflagration."

She added: "As the G7, we speak with one voice: All players in the region are called upon to exercise maximum restraint."

Baerbock arrived in Capri on Wednesday from Israel, where she met with top Israeli leaders as part of a crisis diplomacy effort.