Secretary-General welcomes moves to restore calm at Jerusalem holy sites

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The Haram al Sharif/Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Photo: Flickr/Tony Kane

Israel's decision to uphold the status quo at holy sites in Jerusalem has been welcomed by the UN Secretary-General.

Known as Temple Mount to Jews and Haram al Sharif to Muslims, the sites have been the focus of recent violence between the two sides.

Dianne Penn reports.

Mr Ban noted that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had affirmed that Israel had no intention of dividing the sites which are revered by both Jews and Muslims. 

This also respects what the UN chief described as "the importance of the special role" of Jordan, in line with a 1994 peace treaty between the two countries.

In a statement, the Secretary-General expressed hope that strengthened security arrangements at the sites would contribute to ensuring that visitors and worshippers demonstrate restraint and respect for the area. 

Mr Ban was also hopeful that the renewed commitments will help resolve concerns and bring an end to what he called "the provocative rhetoric" which he said had added to the violence and tension over the past weeks. 

The UN chief also expressed appreciation for the efforts of United States Secretary of State John Kerry and his role in the discussions between the leaders of Israel, Palestine and Jordan. 

Dianne Penn, United Nations. 

Duration: 1'04"

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