Syria protests UN over Israeli wine gift made in occupied Golan
Syrian Ambassador to UN condemned the Israeli mission's "provocative and irresponsible behavior" in distributing wine from grapes harvested on the Golan.
Syria has protested to U.N. leaders that Israel distributed wine from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights as year-end holiday gifts to U.N. staff and asked that they be told not to accept it.
Israel's U.N. mission confirmed it had sent out the wine but said this was perfectly appropriate.
Israel captured the strategic territory from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed it in 1981 in a move rejected by the United Nations. The future of the heights is a key issue in any future Syrian-Israeli peace deal.
In letters to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and General Assembly President Miguel D'Escoto, Syrian Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari condemned the Israeli mission's "provocative and irresponsible behavior" in distributing wine from grapes harvested, and in bottles made, on the Golan.
"I would appreciate it if you would request all United Nations staff to refrain from accepting these Israeli gifts produced illegally in occupied Syrian territory," he said.
The letters, dated Dec. 31, were made public on Friday.
Ja'afari said the building of the winery where the bottles were produced violated Security Council resolutions calling on Israel to protect private and public land, property and water resources on occupied territory.
Ban's spokeswoman, Michele Montas, said she had no immediate comment on Ja'afari's letter.
Reuters Last Mod: 10 Ocak 2009, 15:06