U.N.: Protect historic sites in Jerusalem

Feb. 8, 2007 at 3:02 PM

PARIS, Feb. 8 (UPI) -- The United Nations has expressed "deep concern" over Israeli construction projects around the Temple Mount, or al-Aqsa Mosque, in Jerusalem.

Koichiro Matsuura, director-general of UNESCO, said Thursday he has written a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert asking for the construction plans for the sites. He also asked the prime minister to refrain from action that could increase tension in the area, which could endanger the historic sites.

The Old City of Jerusalem is protected by a U.N. convention on the preservation of world heritage sites and is on the U.N. World Heritage List, according to a press release from the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

Tensions have been high around the Jerusalem sites -- holy to Jews and Muslims -- as Israel constructs a new bridge and does some excavating. Olmert has said no damage will be done to the historic sites.

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