Saudi Arabia condemns US Golan move

Riyadh: Saudi Arabia rejected US President Donald Trump’s recognition Monday of Syria’s Golan Heights as Israeli territory condemning it as a violation of international law.

US President Donald Trump — a key Saudi ally — broke with decades of US policy on Monday, signing a proclamation recognising Israeli sovereignty over the strategic territory it seized from Syria in the Six-Day War of 1967 and later annexed in a move never recognised by the international community.

“Saudi Arabia expresses its firm rejection and condemnation of the US administration’s declaration that it recognises Israel’s sovereignty over the occupied Syrian Golan Heights,” said a statement carried by the official SPA news agency.

The Golan remains “occupied Syrian Arab land” and its recognition as Israeli is a “violation of the UN Charter and international resolutions,” the statement said.

“This will have negative effects on the Middle East peace process and security and stability in the region.”

The UN Security Council and successive US administrations have always regarded the Golan as occupied territory whose return would be negotiated as part of comprehensive peace deal between Israel and Syria.

Trump has failed to carry any of his allies in his policy U-turn, which he signed with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at his side.

Fellow veto-wielding Security Council permanent members Britain and France have both said they will continue to consider the Golan Heights as Israeli-occupied in line with council resolutions, as have China and Russia.

US relations with Saudi Arabia have improved sharply since the 2017 inauguration of Trump, who has broken with his predecessor Barack Obama’s diplomatic opening to Saudi arch foe Iran.

Trump refused to take a harsh stand against the kingdom for the 2018 murder inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.