European countries call for end to Jerusalem unrest at UN Security Council

Five European countries called Tuesday for an end to clashes in Jerusalem following a weekend of violence surrounding a holy site, in a joint statement issued after an emergency closed-door UN Security Council session.

“Violence needs to stop immediately. Further civilian casualties must be prevented as a priority,” the statement by Ireland, France, Estonia, Norway and Albania said. “The status quo of the holy sites must be fully respected.”

The meeting comes after days of violence in and around Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, where 170 people were left wounded at the weekend.

The five European countries condemned “all acts of terrorism” and rocket fire Monday from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel.

The Israeli Air Force responded on Tuesday with strikes in the Palestinian enclave, the first in three months.

“The deteriorating security situation highlights the need to restore a political horizon for a credible peace process,” the countries’ statement said.

The UN Middle East peace envoy Tor Wennesland reiterated in a statement his calls to avoid any provocation that would heighten Israeli-Palestinian tensions.

The emergency Security Council session was requested by the UAE, Norway, France, Ireland and China.

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