UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova called on Tuesday not to further inflame tensions on the ground in Jerusalem's Old City and to encourage respect for the sanctity of its holy sites.
Bokova was speaking in response to a resolution submitted by Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates on behalf of the Palestinian Authority to the UNESCO Executive Board that declares that the Western Wall in Jerusalem – the most holy site in Judaism – belongs to al-Aksa Mosque compound.
“We all have responsibility to UNESCO’s mandate, to take decisions that promote dialogue, tolerance and peace,” said Irina Bokova. “This is especially important for young people, who should be nurtured and educated for peace.”
The protection of cultural heritage should not be taken hostage, as this undermines UNESCO’s mandate and efforts, she added.