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Federica Mogherini
Photo: EPA
'EU doesn't recognize Israeli occupation of the Golan'
Federica Mogherini stresses that the European Union 'recognizes Israel within its pre-1967 boundaries, regardless of the (Israeli) government's claims on other areas.'

The European Union's foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini reiterated on Tuesday that the EU does not recognize Israel's claim to the Golan Heights, echoing a similar statement from the US the day before. 

 

 

"The EU recognizes Israel within its pre-1967 boundaries, regardless of the (Israeli) government's claims on other areas, until a final settlement is reached," Mogherini said before a meeting in Brussels of international donors in support of the Palestinian economy.

 

"This is a shared position reaffirmed by the European Union and its member states," she added. 

 

EU foreign policy chief Mogherini and Prime Minister Netanyahu in joint press conference (Photo: AP)
EU foreign policy chief Mogherini and Prime Minister Netanyahu in joint press conference (Photo: AP)

 

Israel captured 1,200 sq. km. of the Golan Heights during the 1967 Six-Day War. Its annexation of the territory in 1981 has never been recognized by the international community, and some 510 sq. km. rest under Syrian control.

 

In a special government meeting on Sunday Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that the Golan "will forever remain in Israel's hands," and urged the international community "to recognize finally that the Golan will remain permanently under Israeli sovereignty."

 

His declaration was condemned by the Arab League and Syria. "The occupied Golan is Arab land according UN Security Council resolutions," said Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Miqdad.

 

"We are prepared (to do) everything to restore the Golan employing all necessary means including military means," he added.

 

The Syrian Foreign Ministry also sent two letters to the UN Secretary General condemning the Israeli cabinet meeting that was held in the Golan Heights for the first time.

 

"Syria condemns in the strongest terms the holding of a provocative meeting of the occupation government in the occupied Syrian Golan," the letter said. "Syria emphasizes that the meeting is null and void. Syria calls on the UN and the UN Security Council to intervene immediately and to condemn the irresponsible meeting, and demand that the meeting that took place on Syrian soil not happen again."

 

On Monday, the US signalled its opposition to Netanyahu's statement as well. "Every administration on both sides of the aisle since 1967 has maintained that those territories are not part of Israel," US State Department Spokesman John Kirby told reporters.

 

Kirby went on to say that the conditions under which the Golan Heights should be returned must be decided through negotiations between the respective parties. "And obviously, the current situation in Syria makes it difficult to continue those efforts at this time," Kirby said.

 

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