Israelis, Palestinians Reject Vatican Call to Internationalize Jerusalem
Israel and the Palestinians on Wednesday rejected Vatican demands to internationalize holy sites in Jerusalem's walled Old City, reported The Associated Press.
The Vatican made its call for international control over Jerusalem's holy sites to US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright during her visit to Rome on Tuesday.
Vatican Foreign Minister Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran said the Holy See was not making claims on the city, but wanted "international guarantees" on Christian, Muslim and Jewish holy sites in the city "in a way that in the future none of the sides can claim for itself exclusive control in these areas of the sacred city."
Meanwhile, the Palestinians warned the United States not to relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a move President Clinton said he was considering after the failure of last month's Camp David peace summit.
Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said relocating the US embassy would be "grave" and could endanger the peace process.
Arafat returned to Gaza on Wednesday from a tour of Arab nations, saying Arab leaders had given broad support for his negotiating stance. Clinton has suggested Arafat's positions, particularly on Jerusalem, were to blame for the collapse of Camp David.
"All of the Arab countries have solid, strong positions for the Palestinian people, and for the right to Jerusalem and the right of refugees to return," Arafat said.
Arafat visited Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Sudan and Egypt, where he met the heads of state. He also stopped in Paris for a meeting with President Jacques Chirac - Albawaba.com
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