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Extension recommended for UN disengagement force between Israel and Syria

Extension recommended for UN disengagement force between Israel and Syria

Secretary-General Kofi Annan has recommended a six-month extension to the mandate of the United Nations operation supervising the disengagement of Syrian and Israeli forces, but at the same time highlighted the financial difficulties facing the UN mission.

In a report on the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), which was released today at UN Headquarters in New York, the Secretary-General notes that while the situation in the Israel-Syria sector has been "generally quiet," conditions in the Middle East remain potential dangerous pending a comprehensive settlement. "I hope that determined efforts will be made by all concerned to tackle the problem in all its aspects, with a view to arriving at a just and durable peace settlement, as called for by the Security Council in its resolution 338 (1973)," he writes, referring to a milestone text which embodies the principle of 'land for peace.'

Calling UNDOF's continued presence in the area "essential" given the prevailing circumstances, the Secretary-General recommends that the Force's mandate be extended through 31 May 2002.

In making this recommendation, Mr. Annan calls attention to the severe funding shortfall facing the peacekeeping mission, which was established in 1974 following the agreed disengagement of Israeli and Syrian forces on the Golan Heights. Noting that UNDOF is owed some $19.6 million in unpaid dues, the Secretary-General appeals to all Member States "to pay their assessments promptly and in full and to clear all remaining arrears."