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 At Security Council, senior UN envoy cautions against 'unilateral' action in Middle Eas

At Security Council, senior UN envoy cautions against 'unilateral' action in Middle Eas

India Blooms News Service | | 18 Jan 2017, 07:58 am
New York, Jan 18 (Just Earth News): Unilateral actions threaten to unravel the two-state solution between Israelis and Palestinians, the United Nations focal point on the Middle East on Tuesday told the Security Council, stressing that both sides must do their part to create the necessary conditions to launch direct negotiations.

In his first briefing of the year, Nickolay Mladenov, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, told the Council that tensions flared following the December adoption of resolution 2334 (2016). Passed with14 votes for and one abstention, the resolution condemned Israeli settlements in the West Bank and reiterated international support for a two-state solution.

“In the aftermath of the vote, emotions on the ground have been heightened,”  Mladenov said, adding that “divisive positions risk destroying the prospects for peace.”

“All stakeholders must avoid any unilateral action that would prejudge a negotiated final status solution.”

Among other issues raised in his briefing,  Mladenov noted that for the first time in two decades preparations are underway for a regular session of the Palestinian National Council. He encouraged all factions to work towards genuine reconciliation.

Mladenov's briefing followed an international conference this past weekend in Paris, France, where participants reaffirmed their collective support for a two-state solution and readiness to support both parties in returning to meaningful negotiations.

Stressing that opportunities for peace are rare and must be seized, he said that in recent weeks the international community has expressed its continued commitment to the two-state solution. “But resolutions and communiques alone will not achieve a just and lasting peace. What is required is action, first and foremost by the parties themselves.”

Increasing tensions in Gaza

Despite some successes in the Gaza Strip, such as an averted electricity crisis, the situation remains tense, the UN Special Coordinator said.

“I remain greatly concerned by increasing tensions in Gaza exacerbated by the continued closures and the protracted humanitarian and development situation,”  Mladenov told the Council members.

He voiced particular concern about Hamas' crackdown on peaceful demonstrators protesting restrictions on electricity in Palestinians' homes.

“The right to freedom of expression, peaceful protest and assembly in Gaza must be respected fully by all,” said  Mladenov.

Positive developments in Lebanon

The situation in Lebanon has positive signs, the senior UN official said, following the formation of a Government on 18 December by President Michael Aoun and Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri.

“These moves signal cautious optimism and the potential for consolidating Lebanese institutions,”  Mladenov said, noting that the Government outlined its priorities and vision for the country reflecting its determination to tackle key challenges.

UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe


Source: www.justearthnews.com


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Erdogan's Turkey turns Hagia Sophia into a mosque again; UNESCO regrets #HagiaSophia, #Turkey, #Istanbul, #HagiaSophiaMosqueAgain Istanbul/IBNS: Hagia Sophia, Turkey's iconic monument, a UNESCO World Heritage and one of the central attractions of its capital Istanbul, is no longer a museum. It has been turned back as a mosque though some 1500 years ago it was built as an Orthodox Christian cathedral. Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque during the Ottoman time in 1453 while under Ataturk it was turned into a museum in 1935. The decision comes amid a growing rise of the Islamists in Turkey who had been demanding that it be restored as a mosque though Opposition leaders with secular credentials had been against the move. A top court in Turkey ruled that turning it into a museum in 1935 by modern Turkey's secular architect Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was illegal, paving the way for present Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan to declare it as a mosque again and to open it for Muslim prayers. Erdogan made the announcement an hour after the court ruled the conversion to museum in 1935 as illegal and scrapped its status. "May it be beneficial," posted Erdogan on Twitter, sharing an official document on the change with his signature. UNESCO regrets In an immediate reaction, UNESCO said it "deeply regrets" the decision. UNESCO said it was "regrettable that the Turkish decision was not the subject of dialog nor notification beforehand". "UNESCO calls on the Turkish authorities to open a dialog without delay in order to avoid a step back from the universal value of this exceptional heritage whose preservation will be reviewed by the World Heritage Committee in its next session," the United Nation's cultural body said in a statement. Istanbul icon of beauty and wonderment According to Turkey's official tourism website, Hagia Sophia is a remarkable achievement in the history of architecture. and a living proof of mankind's revolt against the laws of physics and it calls it a monument whose importance transcends borders. It is one of UNESCO's World Cultural Heritage sites attracting millions of visitors across the world with its majestic grandeur

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Erdogan's Turkey turns Hagia Sophia into a mosque again 11 Jul 2020, 01:37 pm