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Friday, February 23, 2024

Russia deeply concerned over violence at Al-Aqsa Mosque

Moscow urges UN Secretary-General to prepare analysis on initial reasons for latest spiral of violence, recommendations for restoration of peace

Russia’s Foreign Ministry expressed grave concern Wednesday over the situation at Al-Aqsa Mosque, saying events in Jerusalem “antagonize all the world’s religions.”

“Moscow is expressing serious concern about another round of escalation between the Palestinians and Israelis, which threatens to develop into a full-scale armed confrontation, as has happened many times in the past. The coincidence of the dates of the religious holidays of Christians, Muslims and Jews adds to the tension of the situation,” said Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on the ministry’s Telegram channel.

The Foreign Ministry said in a statement on its website that the situation in Jerusalem shows that only political agreements can ensure the sustainable settlement of longstanding conflicts.

Read more: Israeli forces storm Al-Aqsa mosque during holy month, sparking outrage

“We proceed from the fact that there is no alternative to restarting the peace process between the Palestinians and Israelis under the legal framework approved by the UN, based on the principle of two states,” it said.

Russia demands an end to all unilateral actions that undermine the prospects for a settlement and respect for the status quo of the holy sites of Jerusalem, which includes free access to them by representatives of all religions, the ministry stressed.

“We note the special role of the Hashemite guardianship of the shrines in this city,” it said.

Moscow also called on UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to pay close attention to the Israeli-Palestinian settlement, urging him to engage the potential of its Middle Eastern missions for a thorough analysis of the events aimed at finding the initial reasons for the latest spiral of violence and to draft recommendations for the restoration of stability.

The ministry reminded that on April 25 the UN Security Council plans to hold a meeting on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian issue, calling it a good opportunity for presenting such an analysis.

Read more: Iran vows revenge on Israel

Tension rose in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday after Israeli police detained around 350 worshippers from inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex.

Surrounding the Al-Qibli Prayer Hall, Israeli police went up to the roof of the mosque, smashed windows, and initially used sound bombs against worshippers inside. Some in the mosque tried to resist police by throwing fireworks.