Lavrov Scorns US Double Standards Over Golan and Donbass

Russian FM criticized the contradictory statements of the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield.

Sep. 24, 2023

Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Sergei Lavrov scorned U.S. double standards over the Golan Heights and the Donbass region in Ukraine.

Asked at a press conference to comment on U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield’s seemingly self-contradictory remarks on the need to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries and on U.S. recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights, Lavrov first read a Russian statement on the Donbass.

“The Donbass is very important to Russia’s security. As long as Zelensky is in power in Ukraine, as long as NATO is present in Ukraine, militia groups backed by NATO, the Zelensky regime itself – all of these pose a significant security threat to Russia, and as a practical matter, the control of the Donbass in that situation, I think, remains of real importance to Russia’s security. Legal questions are something else. And over time, if the situation were to change in Ukraine, that’s something we’d look at. But we are nowhere near as that.”

He then read the text of an interview of U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken with Wolf Blitzer of CNN on Feb. 8, 2021:

“As a practical matter, the Golan is very important to Israel’s security. As long as Assad is in power in Syria, as long as Iran is present in Syria, militia groups backed by Iran, the Assad regime itself – all of these pose a significant security threat to Israel, and as a practical matter, the control of the Golan in that situation, I think, remains of real importance to Israel’s security. Legal questions are something else… And that’s the answer to your question,” said Lavrov.

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Thomas-Greenfield, in a press briefing on Sept. 14 on her country’s priorities at this year’s high-level week of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), said:

“During this year’s UNGA, we will work to uphold the principles enshrined in the UN Charter, including respect for the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of all member states.”

At the same briefing, when asked about the Golan Heights, she said her country’s recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over the territory has not changed.

In March 2019, then U.S. President Donald Trump signed a proclamation recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the territory that Israel seized from Syria in 1967 and annexed it in 1981.

Immediately after Israel’s annexation of the occupied territory in 1981, the UNSC adopted Resolution 497, which declared that the Israeli decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration in Syrian Golan Heights “is and void and without international legal effect.”

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