Saturday, February 27, 2010
UN, Russia slam Israel heritage scheme
The UN and Russia join world symphony slamming Israel's decision to include the West Bank holy sites in its national heritage list.
"We have repeatedly said that we are categorically against any steps and actions that foreshadow the outcome of negotiations on a final Palestinian-Israeli settlement, and which cannot but hamper efforts contributing to the resumption of dialogue between Palestinians and Israelis," Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko said Friday.
Israel's decision to include the Ibrahimi Mosque in al-Khalil and the Bilal Mosque on its list of around 150 so -called Jewish heritage site has provoked widespread condemnation.
The Russian official advised Israel to treat issues that have deep religious roots with utmost care and respect.
Moreover, top UN officials including Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and the head of UN cultural agency UNESCO, Irina Bokova condemned Israel's decision.
European Union's top diplomat also called on the Palestinian and Israeli sides to restart peace talks, saying such decisions would not help negotiations.
The EU's foreign-policy director, Catherine Ashton, "regards the recent decision by the government of Israel to add sites in Hebron and Bethlehem to the list of Israeli national heritage sites as detrimental to attempts to re-launch peace negotiations," her spokesman, Lutz Guellner, said in a statement.