UNITED NATIONS: The UN Security Council has rejected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahus claim that the annexed Golan Heights in Syria would forever remain under Israeli control.
The 15-member council was unanimous in saying that the status of the Golan Heights, which Israel seized from Syria in 1967, remains unchanged, Chinese Ambassador Liu Jieyi, who holds this months council presidency, said. Liu recalled a 1981 resolution which states that Israels decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights was nul and void and without any international legal effect.
Liu said that the Council members expressed deep concern over Netanyahus remarks earlier this month that the Golan Heights will remain in the hands of Israel forever. Netanyahus April 17 declaration came on the occasion of the first Israeli cabinet session on the Golan since the area was seized from Syria in the 1967 war and annexed in 1981.
Israels annexation of the Golan has never been recognised by the international community.
Past US-backed Israeli-Syrian peace efforts were predicated on a return of the Golan, where some 23,000 Israelis now live alongside roughly the same number of Druze Arabs loyal to Damascus. Liu said the council supported a negotiated arrangement to settle the issue.
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