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The Latest: Israel calls on US to recognize rule over Golan
January 7, 2019
JERUSALEM (AP) — The Latest developments from U.S. national security adviser John Bolton’s trip to Israel (all times local):
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday called on the U.S to recognize Israeli sovereignty of the disputed Golan Heights.
Netanyahu announced that he and Bolton would visit the region on Monday, weather permitting.
Standing next to U.S. national security adviser John Bolton before a working dinner in Jerusalem, Netanyahu says: “When you’re there, you’ll be able to understand perfectly why we’ll never leave the Golan Heights, and why it’s important that all countries recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.”
Israel captured the area from Syria in the 1967 war. It annexed the Golan Heights in 1981, but the international community has not recognized the takeover.
Bolton is in Israel to reassure the American ally about the planned withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria, which Israel fears could allow a resurgence of the Islamic State there.
A top White House aide says U.S. troops won’t leave northeastern Syria until Islamic State militants are defeated and U.S.-allied Kurdish fighters are protected.
That’s signaling a pause to a withdrawal abruptly announced last month and initially expected to be completed within weeks.
National security adviser John Bolton says there’s now no timetable, and President Donald Trump is reaffirming his commitment to a withdrawal, though he says “we won’t be finally pulled out until ISIS is gone.”
American National Security Adviser John Bolton has toured the ancient tunnels beneath the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City.
Bolton watched a virtual reality tour of the historic site on Sunday and dined there with his Israeli equivalent as well as U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., Ron Dermer. Visiting American officials typically avoid holding official meetings in parts of east Jerusalem, which is contested between Israelis and Palestinians. Trump himself, however, also toured the area in a previous visit. Israel captured the Old City from Jordan in the 1967 war.
National Security Council spokesman Garrett Marquis says Bolton “enjoyed a tour of historical Jerusalem provided by his hosts.”
Bolton is in Israel primarily to reassure the U.S. ally of the Trump-ordered troop withdrawal from Syria.
President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, says the U.S. military withdrawal from northeastern Syria is conditioned on defeating the remnants of the Islamic State group, and Turkey assuring the safety of Kurdish fighters allied with the United States.
Bolton, who is in Israel to reassure the U.S. ally of the Trump-ordered withdrawal, says there is no timetable for the pull-out of American forces in northeastern Syria, but insists it’s not an unlimited commitment.
Bolton said on Sunday that “the timetable flows from the policy decisions that we need to implement.”
His comments mark the first public confirmation the drawdown has been slowed, as Trump faced widespread criticism from allies and the resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis for a policy that was to have been conducted within weeks.