Israel must return Golan Heights to Syria: Mottaki

TEHRAN, May 24 (MNA) – Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki said on Saturday that the Zionist regime has no choice but to withdraw from the occupied Golan Heights.

“Golan belongs to Syria and has to be returned to it. The Zionist regime is in a situation that it has to pull out from Golan,” Mottaki told reporters in a news conference with visiting Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal.


Syria has demanded the return of the Golan Heights, a plateau overlooking Damascus on one side and the Sea of Galilee on the other, since the Zionist regime occupied it in the 1967 Middle East war.


“We support Syria in retaining the occupied lands of Golan,” the foreign minister vowed.


Syria said on Thursday it had received guarantees from Israel via Turkey for a full withdrawal from the Golan Heights and rejected conditions put by Tel Aviv for concluding a peace deal, Reuters reported.


On Wednesday, Syria and the Zionist regime announced that they had begun indirect talks in Turkey, the first of their kind in eight years. But Israeli officials on Thursday said Damascus must distance itself from Iran and stop supporting Palestinian and Lebanese resistance groups.


“Some time ago, a foreign official said in a meeting that the Zionist officials had said they were ready to give Golan back to Syria and that they wanted to return Shaba Farms to Syria or Lebanon. I said such remarks by themselves show that these regions have been occupied by the Zionist regime,” Mottaki said.


Mashaal’s visit follows Tehran’s official invitation to discuss the latest developments in Palestine and the activities of Islamic Resistance movement, he stated.


The foreign minister called on the Islamic states to take action against Israel’s crimes in the occupied territories.


“Now that the Zionists’ crimes have imposed hard conditions on Palestinians, the regional countries and Islamic states have a heavy duty to stop the Zionist regime’s crimes.”


Israel’s recent crime of murdering over 160 innocent Palestinian civilians presented a clear image of the Zionist regime to the world, the foreign minister observed.

Mottaki expressed support for Palestine’s resistance movement which he described as a requirement for bringing peace and stability to the region.


“We believe that the most primary right of any nation is having a homeland,” he stated.


Mashaal said Zionists have so far detained 11,600 Palestinians. Another 160 died during Gaza blockade because they were banned to leave the region to receive medical care, he added.


He said Israel has stepped up pressure on Gazans to “break their resistance and undermine the democratic Hamas government”, but “Palestinians will not surrender to starvation,” the resistance leader vowed.


He urged the Islamic countries not to pursue Israel and U.S. policies on Palestine and expressed appreciation for Iran’s supportive approach toward Palestine’s issues.


“As long as there is occupation, resistance will continue… Gaza siege must break… and Rafah Border Crossing between Palestine and Egypt must open,” he stressed.


Asked whether Hamas feels threatened by the recent Israeli-Syrian talks on Golan Heights, Mashaal said, “We want the occupied Golan and all other Arab soils join their homelands. We are sure that Syria will adopt no extremist approach towards Palestine’s interests.”





News Code 28124

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