01 November 2016, 15:06
Moscow's stance on UNESCO resolution on monuments in Jerusalem remains unchanged - Russian Foreign Ministry
Moscow, November 1, Interfax - Moscow confirmed support for the UNESCO resolution on the status of religious and historical sites on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem of October 14, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister and special presidential representative for the Middle East and African countries Mikhail Bogdanov said.
His comment was in response to the question of why Moscow supported this document despite the fact that the text of the resolution is entirely devoted to the Muslim holy sites.
"These [UNESCO] resolutions have been repeatedly adopted without any debate, so there is nothing new this year compared to the previous year and the year before that," Bodganov said.
"Why should we change our vote this year, when we voted for the very same text last year?" he said.
"This resolution does not determine anything," the deputy minister said.
The UNESCO resolution has been negotiated since 2015, and it was approved by 24 countries out of 58, including Russia and China, on October 13. The text of the resolution expressed the views of the delegations of Egypt and the Palestinian Authority, which were the ones to introduce it for consideration. The subject of the document is the status of the historical and religious monuments which are situated on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. However, it is entirely devoted to the Muslim holy sites, the mosques of Al-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock (Qubbat al-Sakhrah). The document, in particular, mentions that Israel (which is named as an 'occupying power') is taking a number of measures, which either hinder the restoration of the Islamic places of worship or hasten their destruction.
Subsequently, Israel suspended cooperation with UNESCO in protest.