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France's Sarkozy: Jerusalem Must Be Shared by All Faiths


French President Nicolas Sarkozy says Jerusalem must be shared by both Israelis and Palestinians.

Mr. Sarkozy said Jerusalem is a holy city for Jews, Christians and Muslims, and that it cannot be held solely by one side. Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its capital.

Speaking Tuesday, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, the French president also called for an end to further Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territory.

The French leader's ceremonial departure from Ben Gurion Airport later Tuesday was disrupted when a gunshot rang out and security agents rushed to protect Mr. Sarkozy and the Israeli leaders seeing him off. Authorities say an Israeli border policeman standing about 100 meters from the official party fatally shot himself.

Israeli officials say the shooting was neither an attack nor an assassination attempt. They described the policeman's death as an apparent suicide, but some reports from the scene suggested the man may have been overcome by heat, and that his weapon may have fired by accident.

Security officials moved Mr. Sarkozy and his wife to their plane quickly after the shot was fired. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and President Shimon Peres were at the airport, but officials said they were not hurt in the incident.

Mr. Sarkozy, the first French head of state to have visited Israel in 12 years, had been on a three-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories, including talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and an address to the Israeli parliament. After taking office last year, he proclaimed himself a supporter of Israel - a break with his predecessors in Paris, whom Israelis viewed as more closely allied to Arab states.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.