GCC ‘regrets’ Trump’s Golan comment

BEIRUT: The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) expressed regret on Friday at US President Donald Trump’s call to recognise Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, territory captured from Syria in a 1967 war.
Trump’s statement “will not change the reality that (…) the Arab Golan Heights is Syrian land occupied by Israel by military force in 1967,” said Abdul Latif Al-Zayani, the GCC Secretary-General. “The statements by the American president undermine the chances of achieving a just and comprehensive peace,” he said.
The GCC’s comments came as the Syrian government vowed on Friday to recover the territory from Israel. Other countries, both Syria’s allies and enemies, in the region and the West also condemned the US president’s comments — which marked the latest major US policy shift on Israel.
Damascus said the Golan would remain “Syrian, Arab” and Trump had shown contempt for international law.
In the Golan itself, Druze villager Shaikh Mahmoud Nazeeh, also rejected the move.
“Trump can make his statements and say he wants to make the Golan part of Israel. But we know this will stay Syrian land,” the 70-year-old said.
The Arab League, which suspended Syria in 2011 after the start of its civil war, said Trump had paved “the way for official American recognition” of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan and called this “completely beyond international law”.
Egypt said it still considers the Golan as occupied Syrian territory.
Russia, an ally of President Bashar al Assad with forces in Syria, said Trump’s comments risked seriously destabilising the region, and it voiced hope the statement was just declaratory.
The European Union said its position on the status of the Golan Heights was unchanged. “The European Union, in line with international law, does not recognise Israel’s sovereignty over the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967.” — Agencies