ASEAN foreign ministers express grave concern over situation in Al-Aqsa

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) foreign ministers in Manila, Sunday, yielded a joint statement expressing deep concern over the incident around Al-Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem, Palestine, that resulted in loss of lives and injuries.

Driven by Indonesias initiative, the ASEAN foreign ministers have agreed to issue a joint statement called the ASEAN Foreign Ministers Statement on the situation in the Al-Haram Al-Sharif Compound, as quoted by the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website on Monday.

The ASEAN ministers highlighted the importance of ensuring freedom to practice ones religion as a basic human right as well as a reflection of respect for religious and cultural diversity.

The ASEAN has also called on all parties to exercise restraint and to contribute to maintaining peace, security, and stability as well as to uphold the status quo at the Al-Haram Al-Sharif compound, while the sanctity of Al-Haram Al-Sharif compound, as a holy site for various religions and faiths over the millennia, must be preserved and protected.

Hence, the ASEAN has encouraged the international community to contribute towards ensuring continued peace, security, stability, and freedom of worship in the Al-Haram Al-Sharif compound.

The Southeast Asian nations further encouraged the resumption of the peace process between the Israeli and Palestinian sides with a view to achieving enduring peace through a two-state solution, with Israel and Palestine living side-by-side in secure and recognized borders.

A final, just, and comprehensive solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can contribute towards peace and stability in the Middle East region and the world at large, the ASEAN ministers underscored.

Prior to the ASEAN ministers meeting in Manila on Aug 4-8, Indonesian Foreign Minister Marsudi, earlier this month in Istanbul, Turkey, had urged the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) members to offer international protection to the Al-Aqsa complex to counter Israels violence and restriction against worshiping at the holy site.

The message was conveyed by Minister Marsudi during an Open-Ended Extraordinary Meeting of the OIC Executive Committee at the level of Foreign Ministers in Istanbul, Turkey, on Tuesday.

Minister Marsudi affirmed that the incident at the Al-Aqsa Mosque is a reflection of the harsh policies that violate human rights and the impact of Israels ongoing illegal occupation of Palestine.

"The incident that occurred in Al-Aqsa is not the first one, but it is a form of violence and illegal occupation and also acts that violate human rights for which Israel must be held accountable," she noted.

The meeting in Istanbul also served as a platform to reaffirm the importance of re-launching peace talks that are based on the principle of a two-state solution.

The outcome of the meeting is a Final Communique that contains several of Indonesias recommendations.(*)

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