Montenegro 1-5 England: Ross Barkley shines in Euro 2020 qualifying win

Ross Barkley scored as many goals in Montenegro as he had in his previous 26 games for England

England survived an early scare to mount an impressive comeback and outclass Montenegro in Podgorica, in a game overshadowed by racist abuse directed at visiting players.

Manager Gareth Southgate gave first starts to youngsters Declan Rice and Callum Hudson-Odoi but England were stunned after only 17 minutes when Marko Vesovic gave Jordan Pickford no chance with a precise, curling finish.

The visitors kept their composure to respond emphatically with confidence, class and power by taking maximum points – and 10 goals – from their first two Euro 2020 qualifiers.

Everton defender Michael Keane headed home Barkley’s free-kick for his first international goal on the half hour, before the midfielder turned in Chelsea team-mate Hudson-Odoi’s shot to give them the lead before the break.

Montenegro posed only a fleeting threat and Barkley effectively wrapped up the victory with a powerful finish after determined work by Raheem Sterling on 59 minutes.

England emphasised their vast superiority when Sterling was provider once more for Harry Kane’s simple finish before the Manchester City forward got on the scoresheet himself.

However, the victory was marred by an unsavoury conclusion with Sterling clearly responding to taunts from the home fans in his goal celebration, and Hudson-Odoi having to retrieve an object thrown on to the pitch.

And the Montenegro supporters also directed chants at Danny Rose after the defender was shown a yellow card late on, casting a shadow over another great night for Southgate and his team.

England’s show of strength

Raheem Sterling has scored four goals and provided two assists his past two internationals

England were presented with a test of their confidence and resilience when Montenegro, backed by noisy and passionate support, snatched that early advantage.

While Friday’s 5-0 win over the Czech Republic had been a romp, they now faced a test of their character and ability to respond to such a setback.

And they had to do it in surroundings that had proved difficult for the Three Lions on their previous two visits, when they had drawn qualifiers for Euro 2012 and the 2014 World Cup.

The reaction was exactly what Southgate would have demanded as they shrugged off going behind to gather themselves, reassert their authority and then going on to win with ease.

Sterling showed his class as a creator and goalscorer with his 25th goal of the season, while captain Kane has now scored 17 goals in 20 games under Southgate.

Southgate will regard this as another mark of England’s development as they made it 41 European Championship and World Cup qualifiers without defeat since the loss to Ukraine in October 2009.

Barkley’s best England night

Barkley’s career has had periods on hold in recent years and his future has seemed uncertain at club level, never mind for England.

He suffered a serious hamstring injury that required months of recovery before his move from Everton to Chelsea, and he never had the confidence of former Stamford Bridge manager Antonio Conte.

The 25-year-old has had more game time at Chelsea this season and used it to revive his international career, crowned here in Podgorica by arguably his most influential England performance.

It was Barkley’s free-kick that allowed Keane to power home the equaliser, then he was poaching at close range to divert in Hudson-Odoi’s shot as it headed wide.

A thumping finish for England’s third goal capped his personal performance and was fitting reward for a player who must have suffered doubts in the past 18 months as he looks to fulfil his undoubted potential.

England young guns show their class

Forward Callum Hudson-Odoi, 18, was given a full debut for England before starting a Premier League match

It was a big night for Rice and Hudson-Odoi as Southgate trusted their talent and temperament in a volatile environment, and both came through with flying colours.

Rice was a steady, mature and composed presence in midfield, while Hudson-Odoi tormented the Montenegro defence once he switched from the right flank to the left, only being denied a goal by a fine save from Danijel Petkovic.

This made it another highly satisfactory night for Southgate and England.

Man of the match – Ross Barkley (England)

Chelsea’s Barkley scored two goals and set up a third after being brought into the starting line-up by Gareth Southgate

‘It was a good test of character’

England manager Gareth Southgate, speaking to ITV: “The game was a simple one in that we talked all week about using the width. Our wingers were incredibly productive on the night. It was a fabulous performance from young Callum Hudson-Odoi. This place has been difficult for us before and it was a good test of character.”

Asked how far Hudson-Odoi can go: “I don’t need to speak about Callum – his performance did that. With young players it’s up to them. You can see the talent. His application with us has been excellent but like any player you have to work hard to improve.”

Asked about suggestions of racist abuse towards some of his players: “I definitely heard abuse of Danny Rose when he got booked at the end of the game. There’s no doubt in my mind that happened and we’ll report it to Uefa. It’s not acceptable.”

Scoring for fun – best of the stats

  • England scored five or more goals in consecutive matches for the first time since November 1984.
  • England have won five successive games for the first time under Southgate, and it is the first time they have won five in a row since October 2015 under Roy Hodgson.
  • Montenegro have won just one of their past six games and drew their opening qualifier against Bulgaria.
  • Spurs striker Kane has scored 17 goals in 20 appearances for England under Southgate, 11 more than any other player in that period.
  • Sterling has had a hand in seven goals in his past four England games (six goals, one assist), as many as in his previous 31 international appearances
  • Barkley’s first goal was the first England goal scored and set up by Chelsea players since September 2007, when Shaun Wright-Phillips netted from Joe Cole’s assist.
  • At 18 years 138 days, Hudson-Odoi became the second-youngest male player to start a competitive match for England after Wayne Rooney against Turkey in April 2003 (17 years 160 days).

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British MPs vote to take control of Brexit process | CBC News

British lawmakers seized a measure of control over the stalled Brexit process from Prime Minister Theresa May’s foundering government Monday, setting up a series of votes that could dramatically alter the course of the U.K.’s departure from the European Union.

The move came after May conceded that Parliament would defeat her twice-rejected divorce deal with the EU again if she put it to a third vote.

With Brexit delayed and the new departure date up in the air, the House of Commons voted to give itself control of the parliamentary timetable starting Wednesday so lawmakers can vote on alternatives to May’s withdrawal deal. The government usually controls the scheduling of votes in Parliament.

Lawmakers who backed Monday’s motion, which passed 329-302, hope the planned “indicative votes” will narrow the options down to one that can secure majority support. Possible options include a “soft Brexit” that maintains close economic ties with the EU or scrapping Britain’s departure altogether.

Several government ministers quit their posts so they could back the motion. The government opposed the measure, claiming it “upends the balance between our democratic institutions and sets a dangerous, unpredictable precedent for the future.”

Brexit is like the Death Star of politics.– Conservative MP George Freeman

But it also conceded that the new votes might be a way to break the months-long Brexit impasse. May said she would “engage constructively” with the results of the process, though she said she was skeptical that it would produce a decisive result.

Earlier in the day, May acknowledged, “with great regret,” that her deal still lacked “sufficient support” to be approved.

She said she hoped to hold a third vote on the agreement later this week and was working to build support for the deal, which sets out the terms of withdrawing from the EU and the outline of future relations with the bloc.

May warned opponents that continuing to reject the deal her government negotiated last year could lead to a “slow Brexit” that postpones the country’s departure indefinitely.

With the March 29 Brexit day set almost two years ago now just days away, and the withdrawal agreement lacking Parliament’s approval, European leaders agreed to a postponement last week to avoid a chaotic cliff-edge departure. There is wide concern that Britain leaving without a deal would be disruptive for the world’s biggest trading bloc and deeply damaging for its ex-member country.

Anti-Brexit campaigners wave flags, with Scottish saltire flag, right, outside Parliament in London on Monday. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press)

However, the EU granted a shorter delay than May sought. It said if Parliament approves the proposed divorce deal, the U.K. would leave the EU on May 22. If not, the government has until April 12 to tell the 27 remaining EU countries what it plans to do — leave without a deal, cancel Brexit or chart a path to a new option.

In agreeing to the postponement, European leaders hoped Britain’s deadlocked politicians would find a solution to the crisis. But the EU isn’t counting on it. The European Commission said Monday it had completed planning for a no-deal Brexit, calling that outcome “increasingly likely.”

May under pressure to quit

May stands little chance of getting the deal she struck with the EU approved unless she can win over Brexit-backing lawmakers in her Conservative Party and its Northern Irish ally, the Democratic Unionist Party. The DUP said Monday that its “position remains unchanged.”

May has come under intense pressure to quit the prime minister’s post as the price of winning support for the deal.

At a meeting Sunday at the prime minister’s country retreat, Chequers, prominent Brexiteers told May they might back the deal — if she agreed to step down so a new leader could take charge of the next phase of negotiations, which deals with Britain’s future relations with the EU.

Former foreign secretary Boris Johnson, who attended the meeting and is likely to be a contender in any future Conservative leadership race, accused the government of lacking “gumption” and chickening out on delivering Brexit.

Britain’s best-selling newspaper, The Sun, put a call on its front page for the prime minister to resign under the headline “Time’s up, Theresa.”

May is hanging on, hoping she can persuade Brexit-backing lawmakers that rejecting her deal means Britain may never leave the EU.

She told lawmakers that Britain would not leave the EU without a deal unless Parliament — which has already rejected the idea — voted for it.

Hundreds of thousands march

She added that cancelling Brexit “must not happen,” while “a slow Brexit” that involved a long delay to Britain’s departure, “is not a Brexit that will bring the British people together.”

Opponents of Brexit feel the political tide may be turning in their favor. Hundreds of thousands of people marched through London on Saturday calling for a new referendum on whether to leave the EU or remain.

But with the deadline for a Brexit decision less than three weeks away, British politicians remain divided, and increasingly despairing about the country’s political gridlock.

Pro-Brexit Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen is among those saying it’s time for someone else to take the reins from Prime Minister Theresa May. (Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images)

“Brexit is like the Death Star of politics,” Conservative legislator George Freeman said. “I always feared it would be like this. It’s destroying and soaking up all the prime minister’s room for manoeuvre and political goodwill.

“I’ve never known this country so divided, so angry and in such a dangerous state,” he said.

The European Union also said that more remained to be done on ensuring an open border between EU member Ireland and the U.K.’s Northern Ireland — something both sides have agreed to. Checkpoints there were a source of tension and a target during the sectarian violence in Northern Ireland until the Good Friday peace agreement was sealed in 1998.

An EU official said the bloc was in “in intense discussions with the Irish authorities about these matters.”

May survived a vote on her leadership in December, and told the party she would not lead them into the next election.

The United Kingdom voted 52-48 per cent to leave the EU in the referendum.

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Dems begin searching for post-Mueller strategy

Rep. Elijah Cummings

“I believe that what Mueller was saying by not making a finding with regard to obstruction was that he wanted the Congress to take a look at it, and we make the decision,” said House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings. | Jose Luis Magana/AP Photo

House Democrats intensified their efforts to obtain Robert Mueller’s full report on Monday, as the party sought to recast its investigative strategy after the special counsel did not implicate President Donald Trump in a crime.

Top Democrats demanded that Attorney General William Barr turn over the report by April 2, while Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee strongly hinted that they were prepared to issue a subpoena if Barr doesn’t hand over the full report by next Tuesday.

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In a letter to Barr, the leaders of six key House committees said the attorney general’s four-page summary of Mueller’s findings was “not sufficient,” arguing that Congress must obtain all of the underlying evidence from the Mueller probe because the special counsel declined to make a determination on whether Trump obstructed justice.

“I believe that what Mueller was saying by not making a finding with regard to obstruction was that he wanted the Congress to take a look at it, and we make the decision,” House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) told reporters.

Democrats were left trying to pick up the pieces on Monday after Barr said Mueller could not establish that the Trump campaign conspired with Russians in 2016, while Republicans went on the offensive, claiming vindication for their longstanding view that Trump-Russia collusion was a farce.

Barr wrote in a four-page memo to congressional leaders on Sunday that after viewing the evidence Mueller gathered, he found “no actions” on the president’s part that “constitute obstructive conduct.”

Multiple Democrats, including key chairmen, are vowing to press ahead with expansive probes into Trump — with some lawmakers seizing on a singular line from Mueller’s report, as relayed by Barr on Sunday: “While this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

“Right there in black and white, we have the special prosecutor saying, he might have committed a crime,” Rep. Gerry Connolly said Monday. “Wouldn’t you want to know a lot about that, versus declaring, this is over, let’s move on?”

“It’s not a norm that American presidential campaigns consult with Russians and it shouldn’t be, and yet we know 17 officials did, on 100 occasions, and lied about it. So, there’s still plenty to look at,” the Virginia Democrat added.

Top Democrats left a weekly meeting in Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office on Monday night determined to avoid political distractions as they entered a packed legislative week. Democrats emerged saying they would not pull back from their oversight duties but would also not stray from their core agenda, with key legislative priorities on deck.

But the release of key findings in Mueller’s report sparked a postponement this week of the House Intelligence Committee’s scheduled public interview with the head negotiator for the Trump Tower Moscow project, Felix Sater.

Still, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) and his team have already reached out to the Justice Department to schedule a date for Barr to testify before the panel, according to a person familiar with the matter. The committee could also call Mueller himself to testify.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will also seek Barr’s testimony, Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said on Monday.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said that she would prefer the Justice Department address the question of obstruction in a closed setting with senators — a prospect Pelosi has rejected, arguing that the Justice Department would hide behind such a briefing in order to keep Mueller’s underlying findings secret.

“It would be helpful if the attorney general and the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, who’s been really the central player in this long saga, testified in closed session on the obstruction issue on how they reached their decision. In Judiciary or perhaps in the SCIF, if we could get senators to not leak,” Collins said.

But many Democrats also acknowledged that they must proceed cautiously, after the initial description of the Mueller report failed to live up to the hype that some of their own members had helped fuel.

Without proof of criminal misconduct, many Democrats — including dozens of moderate freshmen — will be anxious to retrain attention on the party’s legislative agenda. This week, the House will vote on measures to condemn Trump’s transgender troop ban, as well as legislation to tackle the gender pay gap. Democrats will also vote to override Trump’s veto on legislation terminating his authority to declare a national emergency to build a border wall.

Rep. Marc Veasey (D-Texas) said in an interview that he hopes Democrats — particularly those on the left who have been demanding impeachment for months — hit the pause button while lawmakers try to learn the full scope of Mueller’s probe and its findings.

“This is something that obviously, had the wrong decision been made, it could’ve threatened our majority,” Veasey said, commending Pelosi and other Democratic leaders’ decision not to prematurely pursue impeachment before the Mueller investigation concluded.

“We live in such a different time now, a time where people want instant gratification because of social media… The fact of the matter is it would’ve been easy to try and quench the thirst of all of the people that are on Twitter, on social media,” he said.

Democrats also noted on Monday that Barr wrote a lengthy memo last year — before Trump appointed him to lead the Justice Department — arguing that a sitting president could not obstruct justice.

“We need to know why he came up with the conclusion that there was no obstruction. But again, I will remind you, he came to that conclusion over a year ago,” Bass said.

Meanwhile, some Democrats were eager to focus on Mueller’s central conclusion — which has been sometimes disputed by the president — that Russia interfered in the 2016 election through the use of cyberattacks and social media disinformation campaigns.

“I hope that if you put the criminal conspiracy part aside, even Republicans will say, yeah, it’s time to do something,” Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) said. “Mueller’s done a real service to this country for exposing this, and that’s really what we should act on.”

Burgess Everett contributed to this report.

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Miami Open: Roger Federer beats Filip Krajinovic to reach fourth round

Roger Federer won the Miami Open in 2005, 2006 and 2017

Roger Federer reached the Miami Open fourth round with a straight-set win over world number 103 Filip Krajinovic.

The Swiss, who is bidding for a fourth title in Miami, beat Serbia’s Krajinovic 7-5 6-3.

Federer converted just two of eight break points in the opening set but became more accurate as the match progressed, finishing with 35 winners to 23 unforced errors.

He will face either American Reilly Opelka or Russian Daniil Medvedev next.

Federer hit 14 aces against Krajinovic and won 74% of first-serve points.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion has won 14 and lost two matches on the ATP Tour this season.

Earlier, Australian world number 77 Jordan Thompson beat Bulgarian 29th seed Grigor Dimitrov 7-5 7-5 to reach the fourth round.

South Africa’s Kevin Anderson continued his return from an arm injury with a 6-4 7-6 (8-6) win over Joao Sousa of Portugal.

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Portugal v Serbia: Cristiano Ronaldo suffers hamstring injury

Portugal drew 0-0 with Ukraine in their opening European Championship qualifier on Friday

Forward Cristiano Ronaldo went off injured as Portuga drew their European Championship qualifier against Serbia.

Ronaldo pulled up with what appeared to be a hamstring injury when sprinting after the ball and was substituted in the 31st minute.

Serbia led at the time after Dusan Tadic’s early penalty but the hosts equalised through a spectacular 25-yard strike from Danilo Pereira.

Euro 2016 winners Portugal have begun their defence with two draws at home.

They were held to a scoreless draw by Ukraine on Friday.

Portugal thought they had a penalty when the referee pointed to the spot after the ball hit the outstretched arm of Antonio Rukavina from Andre Silva’s close-range header.

However, after conferring with an assistant, the official reversed his decision.

The hosts were also lucky to finish the game with 10 men as Pepe, who was booked in the first half, caught Tadic on the ankle in the 57th minute, but escaped further punishment.

They had to play without 34-year-old Ronaldo for the final 59 minutes after he picked up an injury in only his second international appearance since last summer’s 2018 World Cup.

His club, Juventus, are 15 points clear at the top of Italy’s Serie A and face Ajax in the Champions League quarter-finals.

The first leg takes place in Amsterdam on 10 April, with the return leg in Turin on 16 April.

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Avenatti arrested for allegedly trying to extort $20 million from Nike

Michael Avantti

According to the complaint filed in the Southern District of New York, Michael Avenatti allegedly threatened to hold a press conference to announce allegations of employee misconduct at the athletic-wear company unless Nike hired Avenatti. | Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images


The former lawyer for Stormy Daniels was also charged in a separate fraud case in Los Angeles.


Michael Avenatti, the attorney who shot to national fame for representing adult film actress Stormy Daniels in her case against President Donald Trump, was arrested Monday in two separate cases of alleged financial crimes on both coasts.

New York prosecutors accused Avenatti of attempting to extract more than $20 million from Nike Inc. by threatening to inflict financial and reputational harm on the company. Avenatti, a frequent attacker of Trump who flirted with a 2020 presidential bid, is also facing separate bank and wire fraud charges in Los Angeles, authorities said.

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The California lawyer received national attention while representing Daniels in two lawsuits against Trump related to hush-money payments made during the 2016 campaign. Prosecutors on Monday said Avenatti used his newfound fame to intimidate Nike for money.

According to the complaint filed in the Southern District of New York, Avenatti allegedly threatened to hold a press conference to announce allegations of employee misconduct at the athletic-wear company unless Nike hired Avenatti and an unnamed co-conspirator to conduct an “internal investigation” of the company for somewhere between $15 million and $25 million.

One of Avenatti’s clients allegedly possessed evidence of Nike employees making payments to top high school basketball players and their families that the company attempted to conceal. Avenatti also said Nike had to pay $1.5 million to his client, an amateur California basketball coach with knowledge of the payments, according to the complaint.

Avenatti threatened to go public with the information on the eve of Nike’s quarterly earnings call and at the start of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament to maximize “the potential financial and reputational damage his press conference could cause to Nike,” prosecutors said. The attorney tweeted on Monday morning plans for a press conference the following day.

“Tmrw at 11 am ET, we will be holding a press conference to disclose a major high school/college basketball scandal perpetrated by @Nike that we have uncovered,” Avenatti wrote. “This criminal conduct reaches the highest levels of Nike and involves some of the biggest names in college basketball.”

The threats were allegedly made during a string of meetings and phone calls between Nike lawyers, Avenatti and his unnamed co-conspirator, whom The Associated Press reported to be Mark Geragos, an attorney who has represented high-profile celebrities like Michael Jackson and, more recently, Jussie Smollett. After an initial meeting on March 19, representatives from Nike called the U.S. Attorney’s office, and every interaction Avenatti had with Nike afterwards was monitored or recorded by officials.

The pair at one point also gave Nike the option of a $22.5 million payment “to resolve any claims” their client might have in lieu of the company paying for an internal investigation, according to the complaint.

Avenatti repeatedly said he wouldn’t continue to “play games” and warned Nike attorneys that he would “go take $10 billion off your client’s market cap,” according to prosecutors.

He hinted at the pain he prepared to unleash with a tweet Thursday linking to an article about former Adidas executives who were sentenced last week for committing wire fraud.

“Something tells me that we have not reached the end of this scandal,” Avenatti tweeted. “It is likely far far broader than imagined…”

Avenatti faces separate charges in a California case for allegedly embezzling a client’s money to pay his own expenses and for allegedly defrauding a bank in Mississippi by using false tax returns to obtain $4.1 million in loans.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Central District of California, Avenatti used the misappropriated money to pay for personal expenses and those of his law firm and coffee business.

Avenatti faces a maximum sentence of 50 years in federal prison if convicted for both crimes. He will appear in court in New York on Monday and in California at a later date, said authorities, who added that the arrest was coordinated between the two U.S. Attorneys’ offices.

U.S. Attorney Geoff Berman at a New York press conference Monday said an investigation is continuing when asked if the claims brought to Nike had any merit and if charges would be brought against Geragos.

Asked if Avenatti’s fame and role in the Stormy Daniels case might raise questions about whether or not the office was politically motivated in arresting Avenatti, Berman said: “This office doesn’t take politics into account when it decides to charge a case.”

Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, tweeted Monday that she was “saddened but not shocked” by news reports of the charges.

“I made the decision more than a month ago to terminate Michael’s services after discovering that he had dealt with me extremely dishonestly and there will be more announcements to come,” she wrote.

At a Los Angeles press conference Monday afternoon, U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna said the allegations paint an “ugly picture” of Avenatti as “a corrupt lawyer who instead fights for his own selfish interests by misappropriating close to a million dollars that rightfully belonged to one of his clients.”

Across the country, Berman’s account of the other half of the simultaneous charges echoed condemnation of the alleged criminal activity.

“A suit and tie,” he said, “doesn’t mask the fact that at its core this was an old fashioned shakedown.”

Laura Nahmias contributed to this report.

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Trump formally recognises Israeli sovereignty over Golan Heights

US President Donald Trump on Monday formally recognised Israeli sovereignty over the Israel-occupied Golan Heights, reversing decades of US policy. 

The announcement came as Benjamin Netanyahu visited the White House in a trip the Israeli prime minister said he was cutting short after an early morning rocket, allegedly fired from the besieged Gaza Strip, struck a home in central Israel, wounding seven people.

Israel began striking Hamas targets in Gaza later on Monday, the Israeli military said. Hamas had earlier denied its movement was behind the overnight rocket.  

Monday’s decree formalised Trump’s statement last week, saying it was time for the United States “to fully recognise” Israeli sovereignty over the Golan. The move appeared to give Netanyahu a boost ahead of the closely contested April 9 Israeli elections. 

“This was a long time in the making,” Trump said alongside Netanyahu in the White House. 

“Today, aggressive action by Iran and terrorist groups in southern Syria, including Hezbollah, continue to make the Golan Heights a potential launching ground for attacks against Israel – very violent attacks,” Trump said. “This should have been done numerous presidents ago.” 

‘Blatant attack’

Israel seized much of the Golan Heights from Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War and then effectively annexed it in 1981, a move that was never recognised by the international community.

Syria’s foreign ministry called the US decision to recognise Israeli sovereignty over the Golan a “blatant attack on the sovereignty and territorial integrity” of Syria, according to a statement carried by state news agency SANA. 

“The liberation of the Golan by all available means and its return to the Syrian motherland is an inalienable right,” the statement added. “The decision … makes the United States the main enemy of the Arabs.”

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said it is impossible for Turkey to accept the US decision on the Golan Heights. 

He added that action will be taken against the United States over the move, including at the United Nations. 

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is “clear that the status of Golan has not changed,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Monday. 

“The UN’s policy on Golan is reflected in the relevant resolutions of the Security Council and that policy has not changed,” Dujarric said.

A UN Security Council resolution adopted unanimously by the 15-member body in 1981 declared that Israel’s “decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights is null and void and without international legal effect”. It also demanded Israel rescind its decision.

Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs also issued a statement rejecting the US move and saying the Golan Heights are occupied Arab land. 

The Arab League condemned the move saying that “Trump’s recognition does not change the area’s status.”

Earlier this month, a senior US administration official told reporters in Washington that there was “no change in [US] outlook or our policy vis-a-vis these territories and the need for a negotiated settlement there”. 

The official was responding to questions about why the US changed its description of the Golan Heights in its latest annual human rights report in which the area was referred to as “Israeli-controlled”, not “Israeli-occupied” as it was previously stated. 

Trump, who has shown robust support for his country’s close ally Israel, recognised Jerusalem as the country’s capital in 2017, defying international consensus and angering Palestinian leaders, who view Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

Al Jazeera and news agencies

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