UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (L) and Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Abul Gheit attend a news conference in Tunis, Tunisia, March 30, 2019. (Zoubeir Souissi / Reuters)

UN Secretary-General backs Syria on Golan Heights

Arab officials said they expected Sunday’s Arab League summit in Tunis would be dominated by Trump’s recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights and Palestinian demands for an independent state.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Sunday said that any resolution to the Syrian conflict must guarantee the territorial integrity of Syria including the occupied Golan Heights.

Addressing the Arab League summit in Tunis, Guterres also said a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine was an “imperative.”

He also welcomed efforts towards a peaceful and democratic transition in Algeria “that addresses the concerns of the Algerian people in a timely way.”

Summit expected reject Trump’s bid to back Israel on Golan

Guterres was speaking at a meeting of Arab League heads of state, many of them rivals. But they are expected to unite at the summit to oppose US President Donald Trump’s bid to legitimise Israel’s occupation of Syrian lands it captured in 1967.

Arab leaders are already grappling with unrest in Algeria and Sudan, international pressure over the war in Yemen, regional splits over Iran’s influence in the Middle East and a Gulf Arab dispute.

Representatives from the 22-member league – minus Syria, which has been suspended from the body since 2011 – aim to jointly condemn Trump’s move against Syria over the Golan Heights. They are also expected to condemn Trump’s decision last year to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

At the opening of the summit, Saudi’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz said Saudi Arabia “absolutely rejects any measures undermining Syria’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights” and supports the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, with east Jerusalem as its capital.

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