Arab leaders to seek UNSC resolution against US decision on Golan Heights

Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Abul Gheit, Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Assaf attend the 30th Arab Summit in Tunis. (Reuters)

Arab leaders warned on Sunday any country from following in the US footsteps in recognizing Israel sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

In a statement agreed by the 22 member states at the closing session of the Sunday’s summit of the Arab League in the Tunisian capital Tunis, the Arab leaders said they will seek a UN Security Council resolution against the US decision on the Golan Heights.

“We, the leaders of the Arab countries gathered in Tunisia ... express our rejection and condemnation of the United States decision to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan,” Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said.

He said Arab countries would present a draft resolution to the UN Security Council and seek a legal opinion from the International Court of Justice on the US decision. It warned other countries away from following Washington’s lead.

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

Trump’s earlier decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital also drew Arab condemnation. Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state.

The Arab leaders also invited non-Arab Iran to work with Arab countries on the basis of good neighborly ties and without interfering in each others’ internal affairs, according to Reuters.

“We affirm that cooperative relations between Arab countries and the Islamic Republic of Iran be based on good neighborliness,” they said in the statement at the end of the 30th summit held in Tunis.

But the statement stopped short from naming the hosting country for the upcoming summit of the Arab League.

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

In the final statement, Arab states renewed support for an Arab peace initiative that offers Israel peace in exchange for withdrawal from all lands occupied in the 1967 war and said they would seek to revive peace talks with the Jewish state.

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

Earlier, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz said that he “absolutely rejects” any measures that undermine Syrian sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

Addressing the summit, he also reiterated Saudi Arabia’s position supporting the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

It is worth mentioning that the leaders of Sudan and Algeria were not at Sunday’s meeting as both nations have been roiled by anti-government protests.

While 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.

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Last Update: 20:09 KSA 23:09 - GMT 20:09
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