rfi

On air
  • RFI English Live
  • Latest Bulletin
  • RFI French Live

France France and the world Israel Palestine Palestinian territories Middle East Mahmoud Abbas

Issued on • Modified

Hollande calls for calm at Al Aqsa mosque after meeting Abbas in Paris

media
French President Francois Hollande (L) welcomes Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to the Elysee Palace on Tuesday Reuters/Philippe Wojazer

French President François Hollande called for calm at Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque after meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Paris Tuesday. Abbas warned that a "new intifada" could erupt if clashes continue at the site.


"We're calling for peace, calm and the respect of principles," Hollande said.

The mosque is the third holiest site in Islam and the area where it stands if Judaism's most sacred.

Dossier: Gaza 2009

Hollande called for both sides to respect the 1967 agreement that allows Muslims access to the mosque at any time and Jews access at certain times as long as they do not pray there.

Last week Israeli police clashed with Palestinians, worried by the growing number of Jewish visitors and some Israeli officials' calls for the Jewish state to take control of the site.

"What is happening is very dangerous," Abbas said, calling on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to stop the violence at the site.

The alternative was "an intifada [uprsing] that we don't want", he added.

France would try to push for an international support group for negotiations at September's meeting of the UN General Assembly, Hollande said.

It would be made up of the "Quartet" - the US, Russia, the EU and the UN - along with the Arab states and has met opposition from Israel and the US.

As Hollande and Abbas met, Israeli security forces were on alert in Jerusalem and the West Bank, announcing tighter controls on traffic between the Palestinian territories and Israel, for the Jewish festival of Yom Kippur.