IOA bars Pope’s representative from visiting Gaza for Sunday services

IOA bars Pope’s representative from visiting Gaza for Sunday services

The IOA blocked father Antonio Franco, the representative of the Pope, and his accompanying delegation on Sunday from entering the Gaza Strip to hold Sunday service despite the arrangements made days ago to facilitate their entry.

A statement issued by the information office of the Latin patriarchate in Jerusalem said that the papal delegation which was composed of archbishop Franco, fathers Shawki Boutrian and Hammam Khozoz and the secretary of the Apostolic Nunciature arrived at the Beit Hanoun crossing and waited more than three hours attempting to enter Gaza but to no avail.

The statement condemned this Israeli arbitrary measure as another violation of the norms of diplomacy between nations and the freedom of believers to perform their religious rites without restrictions.

Meanwhile, Iranian president Ahmadi Nejad called on the world to urgently move to end the suffering of the besieged Gaza people especially in light of the international warnings about the imminence of unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe in the Strip.

During his participation in the fifth journalism exhibition in Tahran, Nejad underlined that the tragedy of Gaza is the most important issue the international community should pay attention to, pointing out that the reason for depriving Gaza people from their most basic rights is their heroic steadfastness.

The Iranian president also underscored that the Palestinian cause became a major test today to assess the sincere words and false attitudes, noting that the double standards, treason and injustice is the norm of the materialistic western regimes became normal things.

In a related development, Syria submitted an urgent request to the secretariat of the Arab League to include the issue of the Israeli siege imposed on Gaza on the agenda of the extraordinary meeting of the Arab foreign ministers to be held in Cairo next Wednesday.

Syrian ambassador to the Arab League Yousef Ahmed strongly condemned the Israeli siege on Gaza as a crime against humanity and a violation of international laws and principals.

Ahmed stressed that this siege requires a serious Arab stance and mechanisms to break the siege, adding that the Arab countries must pressure the concerned international parties to force Israel to end its siege on Gaza.