The Security Council today extended the mandate of the United Nations peacekeeping force established in 1974 to maintain the ceasefire between Israeli and Syrian forces in the Golan Heights.
The Council unanimously adopted a resolution prolonging the mandate of the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) through 30 June 2004 and calling on the parties concerned to implement immediately the Council's milestone resolution 338 of October 1973.
In the same measure, the Council requested Secretary-General Kofi Annan to submit, by the end of the renewal period, a report "on the developments in the situation and the measures taken to implement" resolution 338.
That text, in part, called upon the parties to start immediately implementing another landmark Council decision - resolution 242 of 1967 - and resolved that "negotiations shall start between the parties concerned under appropriate auspices aimed at establishing a just and durable peace in the Middle East."
In his most recent report on UNDOF, Mr. Annan observed that “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.”
After the vote on the resolution today, Council President Ambassador Stefan Tafrov of Bulgaria read a statement on behalf of the 15-member body endorsing the Secretary-General's conclusion.
In another action, the Council held a separate meeting today to hear briefings by the chairmen of its committees and working groups, which deal with a range of geographic and thematic issues.