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News Code: 581


EU Warns Israel to Respect Freedom of Worship

The European Union's top foreign affairs official on Friday called on Israel to respect freedom of worship in holy places.
High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton expressed concern by the temporary detainment of Mufti of Jerusalem Mohammed Hussein, the strife in Masjid al Aqsa and the violence during Easter in Jerusalem.
"Access of believers from all religions to holy places for peaceful worship should be respected" said Ashton.
Ashton also warned that the tension during last week in Eastern Jerusalem and the West Bank risked efforts to renew Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.
Expressing concern for the speculations that Israel approved the construction of 300 new settlements in Ramallah, Ashton reiterated the EU's stance that the settlements in the occupied territories were illegal and it constituted an obstacle to peace.
Israeli police detained the top Muslim religious leader in Jerusalem on May 9, questioning him for 4 hours before releasing without charge.
The detention of the mufti followed the unrest at the Al-Aqsa Mosque as Israeli soldiers barred Muslim worshippers from entering the mosque.

Source: Anadolu Agency