Syria representative to UN says Israel wants peacekeepers out of Golan

UN representative says Israel, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey supporting terrorist groups in order to create a “buffer zone” in the Golan.

September 17, 2014 17:38
2 minute read.
UNDOF peacekeepers

UNDOF peacekeepers [file]. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Syrian Ambassador to the UN Bashar Jaafari said Israel wants peacekeepers removed from the Golan Heights so it can act without any international oversight.

“Israel is the most interested in having peacekeepers evacuated from the occupied Golan so as to be left without international monitoring,” Jaafari told reporters on Tuesday according to the SANA news agency.

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The UN envoy also claimed Israel, Qatar, Turkey and Saudi Arabia seek to encourage “armed terrorist organizations to enter the disengagement area with the aim of creating a buffer zone similar to that created by Israel and its agents in South Lebanon, which was liberated by the [Lebanese] Resistance in 2000.”

Jaafari said he gave UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-Moon evidence of involvement by Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Jordan in supporting the al-Qaida linked Nusra Front and other Islamist opposition groups in Syria. The evidence included the Qatari officer who was “coordinating the kidnapping” of UN peacekeepers from Fiji, he claimed.

“The UN General Assembly however did not lift a finger,” complained Jaafari, adding that “dozens of letters” were sent to the UN secretary-general, members of the UN Security Council, and the under-secretary- general for peacekeeping operations warning about danger in the area, “but there wasn’t any response.”

Jaafari blamed the lack of response on Qatar and Saudi Arabia using their money to corrupt the UN.

The Fijian peacekeepers were released last week by the Nusra Front after two weeks in captivity.

Qatar is thought by the US to have influence with Nusra Front, and the Gulf state said Fiji had formally requested its assistance in freeing the hostages.

Jaafari also referred to the US led alliance against Islamic State, lamenting that it does not want cooperation from Syria, Iran, Russia, and China, “as they don’t really seek to fight terrorism. Rather they want to use terrorism to interfere further and further in the internal affairs of the region,” SANA reported him saying.

“How do you want to fight ISIS in Syria without coordinating with the Syrian government, while at the same time threaten the Syrian government that if it defends its sovereignty, it will be attacked by this or that state?” said Jaafari.

“We in Syria have been fighting ISIS and terrorism on behalf of the whole world for two years, and we didn’t wait for any international coalition and we will not wait for others to invite us [to the coalition] or coordinate with us,” he said.

In addition, Jaafari questioned the US focus on Islamic State, stating that it was overlooking the Nusra Front.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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