Annan requests six-month extension for Golan Heights peacekeepers

10 December 2003

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has asked the Security Council to extend the mandate of the UN peacekeeping mission in the Golan Heights, which has monitored the disengagement of Israeli and Syrian forces in the area since 1974, for another six months.

In the latest of his regular reports on the mission to the Council, Mr. Annan says Israel and Syria have approved the proposed extension of the mandate of the UN Disengagement Observer Force’s (UNDOF) from 31 December until 30 June next year.

The Secretary-General says the situation in UNDOF’s area of operation has “remained relatively quiet” between June and this month, but he notes that tension has been high since an Israeli air strike on a target northwest of the Syrian capital, Damascus, on 5 October.

“The situation in the Middle East is very tense and is likely to remain so unless and until a comprehensive settlement covering all aspects of the Middle East problem can be reached,” he says in the report.

Mr. Annan adds that the UNDOF – which had 1,046 troops as of 30 November – has a shortfall in funding of $26 million because of unpaid assessments from UN Member States. He urges the States that have not yet paid to do so.

 

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