Media Statement

02 April 2019

South Africa joins the international community in expressing concerns on the United States (US) Administration's decision to recognise Israel’s sovereignty over the Syrian Heights

South Africa joins the international community to express its concerns on the recognition by the United States (US) of the Syrian Golan Heights as part of Israel’s sovereign territory.

The Golan Heights region was seized by Israel from Syria during the Six-Day War in 1967. In 1981, Israel passed a law that effectively annexed it – a move that remains unrecognised internationally. A United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution of 1981 states that “the Israeli decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights is null and void and without international legal effect”.

As such, the US’ unilateral decision of 25 March 2019, represents a serious violation of the UN Charter, International Law and applicable UNSC resolutions, particularly 497 (1981). Such unilateral declarations constitute a severe setback to the Rule of Law and international norms.

The Government of the Republic of South Africa will not support any unilateral action by the US Government that undermines efforts of creating peace and stability in the Middle East region.

South Africa calls upon the UNSC to exercise its mandate in preserving international peace and security. It further calls upon the UNSC to implement its relevant resolutions, supported by International Law, to restore the Syrian Golan Heights, an integral part of the Syrian Arab Republic, from Israeli occupation.

Enquiries: Ndivhuwo Mabaya, 083 645 7838 or mabayan@dirco.gov.za

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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