Arab countries hold off on UN action over Trump move on Golan
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Arab countries hold off on UN action over Trump move on Golan

Tunisia’s top diplomat notes United Nations has already called on Israel to withdraw from the strategic plateau in past resolutions

Tunisians hold Syrian and Palestinian flags, as they demonstrate against the Arab League Summit and the United States' recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, on Habib Bourguiba Avenue, in the capital Tunis on March 31, 2019. (Anis Mili/AFP)
Tunisians hold Syrian and Palestinian flags, as they demonstrate against the Arab League Summit and the United States' recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, on Habib Bourguiba Avenue, in the capital Tunis on March 31, 2019. (Anis Mili/AFP)

UNITED NATIONS — Arab countries met at the United Nations on Monday to discuss US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Israel’s annexation of the Golan, but no decision was made about proposing a UN resolution condemning the US move, diplomats said.

Tunisian Foreign Minister Khemaies Jhinaoui said there was “no need,” for the time being, to press for further action that would have reaffirmed UN resolutions that call on Israel to withdraw from the Golan.

Trump was sharply criticized when he signed a proclamation last month, in which the United States recognized Israel’s annexation of the strategic plateau that it seized from Syria in 1967 and effectively annexed in 1981.

“The Security Council has already adopted a resolution,” Jhinaoui told reporters, citing Resolution 497, which declared Israel’s annexation claims null and void.

“That resolution is very clear that this is a territory occupied by Israel and has to be liberated, so there is no need to go, I think, no need now,” he said when asked about a possible new resolution.

US President Donald Trump, seated, holds up a signed proclamation on the Golan Heights, alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, standing center, in the Diplomatic Reception Room at the White House, in Washington, DC, March 25, 2019. (Saul Loeb/AFP)

Arab League Ambassador Maged Abdelaziz said the US decision would be discussed at a meeting between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Arab ministers in Moscow next week.

At an Arab League summit in Tunis last month, leaders slammed the US decision to recognize the Golan as Israeli territory, which comes after Trump’s decision in December 2017 to declare Jerusalem to be Israel’s capital.

Syria did not attend that summit as it was suspended from the Arab League in 2011.

At a Security Council meeting last month held at Syria’s request, Trump’s decision was denounced as a violation of international law as enshrined in UN resolutions.

The four other permanent council members — Britain, China, France and Russia — said they would continue to view the Golan as Israeli-occupied territory.

After Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a group of Arab countries presented a resolution condemning the decision to the General Assembly, which won overwhelming support.

The US decision to recognize the Golan comes as Washington’s European and Arab allies are keenly awaiting US proposals for a Middle East peace plan.

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