Monday Mar 25, 2019
WASHINGTON/DAMASCUS/MOSCOW: US President Donald Trump on Monday signed a proclamation recognising Israeli sovereignty over the disputed Golan Heights, a border area seized from Syria in 1967.
"This was a long time in the making," Trump said alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the White House.
Netanyahu called the recognition "historic" and said the Golan Heights, which are still claimed by Syria, would remain permanently under Israeli control. "We shall never give it up," he said.
"Your proclamation comes at a time when Golan is more important than ever for our security," he said.
Meanwhile, the Syrian government called Washington's recognition of Israeli claims a blatant attack on its sovereignty.
"In a blatant attack on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria, the president of the US has recognised the annexation of the Syrian Golan," a foreign ministry source said, according to state news agency SANA.
"Trump does not have the right and the legal authority to legitimise the occupation," he said.
The unnamed source also said the unlimited support the US gives to Israel makes Washington the prime enemy of the Arabs, according to SANA.
Russia on Monday warned of a "new wave" of tensions in the Middle East after the decision by Washington to recognise Israeli sovereignty over the disputed Golan Heights, which are claimed by Russian ally Syria.
"Unfortunately, this could drive a new wave of tensions in the Middle East region," Russia's foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a radio broadcast, according to Russian news agencies.