03:42 GMT +315 December 2018
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    US to Reject UN Resolution Calling on Israel to Return Golan Heights to Syria

    © AFP 2018 / Jalaa Marey
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    The vote on 'The Occupied Syrian Golan' resolution is expected to be held during an annual UN General Assembly session. The non-binding resolution is voted on annually by the UN General Assembly's Third Committee.

    The United States plans to reject a UN General Assembly resolution that urges Israel to return the Golan Heights to Syria, according to US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley.

    "Given the resolution's anti-Israel bias, as well as the militarisation of the Syrian Golan border, and a worsening humanitarian crisis, this year the United States has decided to vote no on the resolution," Haley said.

    READ MORE: Syrians in Israeli-Controlled Golan Heights Protest Against Tel Aviv — Reports

    The non-binding resolution is voted on every year by the UN General Assembly's Third Committee. 

    The document specifically touches upon the "illegality of the decision" by Israel "to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the occupied Syrian Golan," which the resolution insists violates international law.

    Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon, for his part, praised Haley's announcement as "the change in the American voting pattern", which Danon said is "another testament to the strong cooperation between the two countries".

    READ MORE: Syrian Army Gains Control of Strategic Hill Near Israeli-Occupied Golan Heights

    "It is time for the world to distinguish between those who stabilise the region and those who sow terror", he noted.

    In early September, the Israeli newspaper Hayom cited the US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman as saying that he believes that Washington could recognise the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights as part of the Jewish state.

    He added that he expects the Golan Heights to remain under Israeli control "forever", saying that he "cannot imagine a situation" in which the area is returned to Syria.

    READ MORE: Retired General Tells Sputnik How Syria Can Get Golan Heights Back From Israel

    Earlier, US National Security Advisor John Bolton had said that  the Trump administration was not discussing any possible recognition of Israel’s annexation of the occupied Syrian territory.

    Israel took control of the Golan Heights in 1967 after the Six-Day War. In 1981, the Jewish state passed a law declaring its right to the territory, justifying the move as aimed at safeguarding its borders from aggressive military activity. However, the law has never been recognised internationally, and the dispute between Syria and Israel over the territory has yet to be resolved.

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    Nikki Haley, US, Israel, Syria, Golan Heights
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