Kathmandu: United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who is on a four-day visit to Nepal, met with Nepali Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal on Sunday afternoon.

After his meeting with the Nepali PM, Guterres addressed the media and expressed his deepest condolences to the families of 10 Nepali students killed in a Hamas attack in Israeli villages bordering Gaza.

The UN chief also condemned the attack by Hamas on Israel that took place on October 7 and called for the immediate release of hostages by Hamas as well as a ceasefire by Israel in Gaza as he visited the Himalayan nation.

"These are difficult and tense times. I know that even though the conflict in the Middle East is thousands of miles away, it has hit very close to home for the people of Nepal. I extend my deepest condolences to the families of the ten Nepali students killed in the terror attacks by Hamas in Israel on October 7 and my best wishes for the safe return of Bipin Joshi, who is missing," Guterres said.

Reiterating calls for ceasefire and peace in the region, the chief of the world body called on all parties to sit at the table and end the ongoing crisis.

"I have just arrived here from Qatar and will continue to insist on the immediate and unconditional release of all the hostages in Gaza. I repeat my utter condemnation of the appalling attacks perpetrated by Hamas. There is no justification, ever, for the killing, injuring, and abduction of civilians. The situation in Gaza is growing more desperate by the hour. I regret that instead of a critically needed humanitarian pause, supported by the international community, Israel has intensified its military operations. The number of civilians who have been killed and injured is totally unacceptable. All parties must respect their obligations under International Humanitarian Law," Guterres stressed.

Warning that the world is on the brink of collapse, he called on the warring sides for a ceasefire.

"I urge all those with responsibility to step back from the brink. I reiterate my appeal for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, the unconditional release of all hostages, and the delivery of sustained humanitarian relief at a scale that meets the needs of the people of Gaza," the UN Secretary-General said.

Nepal Foreign Minister NP Saud, along with other officials, welcomed Guterres as he arrived at Tribhuvan International Airport at the invitation of Nepal's Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal.

This is the first visit of the UN chief to Nepal since he assumed office on January 1, 2017.

According to the release from Nepal's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Antonio Guterres will address the Joint Session of the Federal Parliament on October 31, 2023, as well as have first-hand observation of the impacts of climate change on Nepal and meet affected communities as he travels the Himalayan nation.