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Netanyahu vows no Golan Heights retreat

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a news conference in his office in Jerusalem on April 23, 2009. Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz unveiled measures to revive a flagging economy, including doubling loan guarantees for banks and cutting corporate taxes. (UPI Photo/Ammar Awad/Pool)
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a news conference in his office in Jerusalem on April 23, 2009. Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz unveiled measures to revive a flagging economy, including doubling loan guarantees for banks and cutting corporate taxes. (UPI Photo/Ammar Awad/Pool) | License Photo

JERUSALEM, May 10 (UPI) -- Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Sunday he will not relinquish control of the occupied Golan Heights.

Speaking at a Likud Party ministers' meeting, Netanyahu's comments made clear that the Turkish-mediated talks held between Syria and the previous Israeli government of Ehud Olmert government have been frozen with little prospect of renewal, Ynetnews.com reported.

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The remarks were praised by Israeli Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, formerly chairman of the Knesset's Golan Lobby, who said: "The prime minister's statement carries good news to Israel's security. It is a message to the United States, the region's countries and the rest of the world."

Netanyahu's stance comes before his first meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama this week, and one day after Washington moved to renew economic sanctions imposed on Syria.

"This message is undoubtedly very significant, on the eve of the prime minister's visit to the White House." Katz told Ynetnews.

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