Five Gulf Arab states have rejected a US decision to recognise Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights, with Riyadh warning the move would hurt the peace process and affect regional stability.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait - all regional allies of Washington that host US troops - and the United Arab Emirates criticised the move by US President Donald Trump to recognise Israel's 1981 annexation, and said the territory was occupied Arab land.

"It will have significant negative effects on the peace process in the Middle East and the security and stability of the region," a statement on Saudi Arabia's state news agency SPA said.

It described yesterday’s declaration as a clear violation of the United Nations Charter and of international law.

Kuwait and Bahrain said they regretted the decision, while Qatar called on Israel to end its occupation of the Golan Heights and comply with international resolutions.

Mr Trump, with visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looking over his shoulder during a visit to Washington, signed a proclamation officially granting US recognition of the Golan Heights as Israeli territory.

Israel seized the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Middle East War and annexed it in 1981 in a move not recognised internationally.

Iran echoed the comments, describing Mr Trump's decision as unprecedented this century.

"No one could imagine that a person in America comes and gives land of a nation to another occupying country, against international laws and conventions," President Hassan Rouhani was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA.