Work on Nazareth Mosque Halted, for Now, Says Israeli

ROME, DEC. 12, 2001 ( Israeli Foreign Affairs Minister Shimon Peres said his government has halted, for now, construction on the controversial mosque in Nazareth.

"We are profoundly conscious of the concern of Christians over the construction of the Nazareth mosque, and we are trying to find a way not to wound this position," Peres said on the Telepace television station here.

"For now, we have postponed the construction, with the objective of finding a compromise or an alternative," the Nobel Peace Prize recipient added. "We will do all we can, not to wound the feelings of the Christian world."

He continued: "We have very much appreciated the Pope's appeal against terrorism, in the Message for the Day of Peace. He says that terrorism and kamikaze suicides are a sin against the Lord and against man. It is an ethical appeal."

Peres was visiting Italy on Tuesday to meet with political authorities. Scheduling conflicts ruled out a meeting with John Paul II, according to Peres and Vatican spokesman Joaquín Navarro-Valls.

12. desember 2001