Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has confirmed that Moscow would not countenance Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
The spiked comments from the senior Kremlin insider on Wednesday stood in stark contrast to those of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu just days earlier, in which he promised continuing Israeli control over the occupied territory.
“As long as it is dependent on me, the Golan will remain under Israeli sovereignty,” said Netanyahu on Monday. “Otherwise we will get Iran and Hezbollah on the banks of the Kinneret [the Sea of Galilee].”
The Golan Heights plateau was captured from Syria during the Six Day War in 1967 and remains disputed territory. Israel effectively annexed it in 1981, but the UN Security Council immediately ruled this “null and void”. The UN has since kept a small peacekeeping force along the 160-mile buffer zone.
In comments reported by Russia’s Tass news agency, Lavrov said: “The status of the Golan Heights is determined by the resolutions of the UN Security Council. To change this status bypassing the Security Council, I think, would be a direct violation of these resolutions.”
Russia is one of five permanent members of the UN Security Council, and recently blamed Israel for causing the downing of a Russian surveillance plane. Moscow responded by selling the Syrian regime an advanced anti-aircraft missile system, which will limit Israel’s ability to conduct air sorties over Syrian territory.
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