EU stresses Golan position after Netanyahu comments

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Brussels (AFP)

EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini stressed that the European Union does not recognise Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the annexed territory would "forever" remain in his country's hands.

"The EU recognises Israel within its pre-1967 borders, whatever the government's claims on other areas, until a final settlement is concluded," Mogherini said.

"And this is a common consolidated position of the European Union and its member states," she added ahead of a meeting in Brussels for international donors supporting the Palestinian economy.

Netanyahu's cabinet on Sunday held its first meeting in the Golan Heights, territory seized from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War.

"The Golan Heights will remain in the hands of Israel forever," Netanyahu said at the start of the cabinet meeting, in comments broadcast on public radio.

Bashar al-Jaafari, Syria's envoy to the United Nations, denounced the meeting as an "irresponsible provocation", while Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi called it an "escalation".

Israel seized 1,200 square kilometres (460 square miles) of the Golan Heights from Syria in the Six-Day War and later annexed it, a move never recognised by the international community.