Israel nudges Damascus to reopen border crossing | News | DW | 27.09.2018
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Israel nudges Damascus to reopen border crossing

Israel's defense minister has said Israel wants to reopen its border crossing with Syria. The crossing would initially be reopened for UN personnel and would later operate as it did before the war in Syria started.

While Israel is ready to reopen the Quneitra crossing with Syria, any resumption of operations at the border facility depends on Syria, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Thursday.

"We are ready to open the crossing as it was before and now the ball is in Syria's court," Lieberman said during a tour of the crossing on Thursday. "In terms of the ability to operate the crossing, both from a security and administrative point of view, everything is ready."

Lieberman also reiterated Israel's policy of nonintervention in the Syrian civil war.

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Israel will also ensure compliance with the nonmilitarized buffer zone between the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights and Syria established in 1974 after the Arab-Israeli War a year earlier, the minister said.

A key point

The Quneitra crossing lies in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and was closed in 2014. The UN peacekeeping force UNDOF restarted patrols in the Quneitra area this August after the Syrian government retook the town of Quneitra from rebels.

The UNDOF's monitoring operations were established in 1974 between the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and the Syrian sector, but were disrupted by Syria's civil war. Military police from Russia, an ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad, have been patrolling on the Syrian side of Quneitra.

jbh/kms (dpa, Reuters, AP)

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