Arab leaders condemn US decision on Golan - GulfToday

Arab leaders condemn US decision on Golan

Arab-Lead

Arab leaders pose for the camera, ahead of the 30th Arab Summit in Tunis, Tunisia. Reuters

TUNIS:  Arab leaders condemned on Sunday a US decision to recognise Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights and said Middle East stability depended on creating an Palestinian state.

Saudi Arabia's King Salman Bin Abdulaziz told Arab monarchs, presidents and prime ministers at the meeting that his country "absolutely rejects" any measures affecting Syria's sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

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This picture taken on Sunday shows a view outside the Tunisian capital Tunis' Conference Palace. Fethi Belaid/AFP

President Donald Trump's signed a proclamation last week recognising the Golan Heights as part of Israel, which annexed the area in 1981 after capturing it from Syria in 1967.

The Saudi king's condemnation echoed those of Arab officials before Sunday's summit of the Arab League, which usually ends with a final declaration agreed by the 22 member states.

Trump's Golan decision followed a US move less than four months ago to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital, a decision that also drew Arab condemnation. Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state.

“Any resolution to the Syrian conflict must guarantee the territorial integrity of Syria including the occupied Golan Heights.

Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi said Arab leaders also needed to ensure the international community understood the importance of the Palestinian cause to Arab nations.

Regional and international stability should come through "a just and comprehensive settlement that includes the rights of the Palestinian people and leads to the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital," Essebsi said.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who addressed the meeting in Tunis, said any resolution to the Syrian conflict must guarantee the territorial integrity of Syria "including the occupied Golan Heights."

The Tunis summit brought together the rulers of Saudi Arabia and Qatar for the first time at the same gathering since 2017 when Riyadh and its allies imposed a political and economic boycott on Doha.

But Qatar's emir left the summit hall shortly after Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit praised the way Saudi Arabia handled its rotating Arab League presidency last year, live television footage showed.

Qatar's state news agency did not say why Tamim left, but Tunisia's state news agency TAP said the rest of Qatar's delegation stayed.

“Arab leaders also needed to ensure the international community understood the importance of the Palestinian cause to Arab nations.

The leaders of Sudan and Algeria were not at Sunday's meeting as both nations have been roiled by anti-government protests.

Syria's seat at the summit was vacant. Damascus as been suspended from the League since 2011 over its crackdown on protesters at the start of its civil war. The League has said no consensus has yet been reached to allow Syria's reinstatement.

Reuters