Against the backdrop of simmering tensions in the Middle East, the Security Council today extended through November the United Nations operation supervising the disengagement of Syrian and Israeli forces.
The Council took its action by a unanimous vote on the recommendation of Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who said in a recent report that the continued presence of the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) -- first deployed in 1974 -- remained essential, even though the situation in the Israeli-Syrian sector had been generally quiet.
The Council also urged the parties to implement immediately its resolution 338 of 1973. That text called for peace talks and reaffirmed the Council's landmark resolution 242 of 1967, which required the withdrawal of Israeli forces from all occupied territories and an end to all claims of belligerency, as well as an acknowledgement of the right of all States in the region to live in peace. Together, resolutions 242 and 338 are considered the basis for an overall settlement in the Middle East.
Following the adoption of the resolution, the Council President for the month of May, Ambassador James Cunningham of the United States, read out a statement that cited Mr. Annan's conclusion that "the situation in the Middle East continues to be potentially dangerous and is likely to remain so unless and until a comprehensive settlement covering all aspects of the Middle East problem can be reached."
"That statement of the Secretary-General reflects the view of the Security Council," Ambassador Cunningham said.