Syria's ambassador to the United Nations has lashed out at US President Donald Trump's recognition of “Israeli sovereignty” over the occupied Golan Heights, describing the move as part of a “criminal project” aimed at prolonging chaos and destruction in the region.
Bashar Jaafari made the remarks at a Wednesday UN Security Council meeting on the situation of Syria in the wake of Trump’s Monday decision to recognize “Israeli sovereignty” over the Syrian territories of Golan Heights.
“This is a criminal project or plan for which the US government and its allies have used all tools at their disposal,” Jaafari said, adding that the plan is aimed at guaranteeing chaos and destruction in the region, and dividing the people of the region on religious and ethnic basis in order to “build a new reality”.
“From the first day of this terrorist war led by governments of certain known countries, we said that the main goal of this war was to ensure Israeli occupation of Arab territories and to ensure that the occupation can go on forever on the basis of the plan put forward by the United States,” he said.
The US president’s recent decision on the occupied Golan Heights “shows just how correct we were at the time,” the Syrian envoy added.
Trump signed a decree recognizing Israeli “sovereignty” over the occupied Golan at the start of a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington on Monday.
Since then, the US has become the subject of a new round of furor by world countries over Trump’s controversial decision.
Iran, Turkey, Lebanon, Russia, and the European Union were quick to reject Trump’s move, which is in obvious contravention of international law.
In a declaration issued on Wednesday, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini's office announced that the bloc "does not recognize Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights.”
Declaration by the High Representative @FedericaMog on behalf of the EU on the #GolanHeights:— EU Council Press (@EUCouncilPress) March 27, 2019
The position of the EU has not changed. The EU does not recognise Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights.
Full text: https://t.co/iJAUESEXiQ
Security Council rejects Trump’s decision
The Wednesday meeting of the Security Council turned into another stage for the isolation of the US, as other countries on the council opposed Trump’s move on the occupied Golan Heights.
British UN Ambassador Karen Pierce told the council that the US decision was in contravention of that 1981 resolution, which declared "null and void and without international legal effect” the Israeli annexation of Golan in 1981.
Russia's Deputy UN Ambassador Vladimir Safronkov said Washington had violated UN resolutions and warned it could fuel instability in the Middle East.
North Korea also issued a statement backing "the struggle of the Syrian government and people for taking back the occupied Golan Heights."
The European members of the council - France, Britain, Germany, Belgium and Poland - had earlier on Tuesday raised concerns about "broader consequences of recognizing illegal annexation and also about the broader regional consequences."
Back on Thursday, Trump tweeted that it was time to back Israeli “sovereignty” over the Golan Heights, a Syrian territory under Israeli occupation since the 1967 Six-Day War.
"After 52 years it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel’s Sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which is of critical strategic and security importance to the State of Israel and Regional Stability!" the US president wrote on Twitter.
In 1967, Israel waged a full-scale war against Arab territories during which it occupied a large swathe of Syria’s Golan and annexed it four years later, a move never recognized by the international community.
Syria has repeatedly reaffirmed its sovereignty over the Golan Heights, saying the territory must be completely restored to its control.