Russia criticizes Trump’s

Russia criticizes Trump’s Golan Heights comment

MOSCOW (AA): U.S. President Donald Trump’s call to recognize Israel’s control of the occupied Golan Heights could destabilize the situation in the Middle East, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday.

“In any case, such an idea itself in no way contributes to the goals and objectives of the Middle East settlement, rather on the contrary. So far it is nothing but a call, let’s hope that it will remain a call,” he told reporters in Moscow.

In a separate statement, Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the change of status of the occupied Golan Heights is a direct violation of UN resolutions.

The UN Security Council resolution 497 of 1981 reconfirmed the Golan Heights belongs to Syria, she recalled.

“Our assessment of the illegality of Israel’s decision to extend its sovereignty to the Golan Heights, adopted as a basic law in 1981, remains unchanged. Changing the status of the Golan Heights bypassing the Security Council is a direct violation of UN decisions,” she said.

Trump’s tweet on Thursday came following congressional momentum building up on Capitol Hill for the change. The State Department last week changed its terminology for the first time on the contested territory referring to it as “Israeli-controlled” instead of its previous usage of “Israeli-occupied”.

Israel occupies roughly two-thirds of the wider Golan Heights as a de facto result of the conflict. It moved to formally annex the territory in 1981 — an action unanimously rejected at the time by the UN Security Council.

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