Golan an occupied land: Saudi Arabia

US decision violates UN Charter, international resolutions

Signs pointing out distances to different cities is seen on Mount Bental, an observation point in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights that overlooks the Syrian side of the Quneitra crossing. — Reuters

Riyadh — The Council of Ministers chaired by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman on Tuesday reiterated the Kingdom's total rejection and denunciation of the declaration issued by the US administration to recognize Israel's sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights.

The Cabinet affirmed the Kingdom's steadfast position on the Golan Heights that it is an occupied Syrian Arab land in accordance with the relevant international resolutions.

US President Donald Trump broke with decades of US policy on Monday, signing a proclamation recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the strategic territory it seized from Syria in 1967 and later annexed in a move never recognized by the international community.

"Saudi Arabia expresses its firm rejection and condemnation of the US administration's declaration that it recognizes Israel's sovereignty over the occupied Syrian Golan Heights," the Kingdom said in a statement issued earlier.

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.

Other Gulf Arab states also rejected the US decision.

Bahrain, UAE and Kuwait joined Saudi Arabia in criticizing the move by Trump.

Lebanon said the decision contravened international law.

"The world is witnessing a black day," Lebanese President Michel Aoun said on Twitter during a visit to Russia. — Agencies