Saudi King Salman said he “absolutely rejects” any steps that would undermine Syrian sovereignty over the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights, after US President Donald Trump recognized the area as Israeli territory.
His remarks came as a strong rebuff to US President Donald Trump, who signed a declaration last week officially recognizing the Golan Heights as part of Israel. The strategic area was captured from Syria during the Six-Day War in 1967, and has since remained under Israeli control.
In 1981, the UN Security Council unanimously voted to declare the Israeli annexation of the Golan Heights illegal and demanded that Tel Aviv “rescind” it.
Trump’s move, not surprisingly, was praised by the Israeli government and drew fierce criticism from Syria, which blasted the annexation of its territory as “null and void.”
The issue also caused a rift with some of the US’ NATO allies. French leader Emmanuel Macron said that the recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights “violates international law and creates tension in the region.”
On Sunday, the EU’s foreign affairs chief, Federica Mogherini, stressed that ignoring the UN’s position on the Golan Heights is “not a solution.”
The Saudi king’s affirmation of East Jerusalem as Palestinian is another clear rebuke of Washington’s policy, since Trump recognized the whole of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and moved the US embassy there from Tel Aviv. That also did not go down well with Washington’s allies as some cautioned saying it put the whole perspective of the peace process in jeopardy.