The Security Council today extended for six months the mandate of the 31-year old United Nations peacekeeping force observing the ceasefire between Israeli and Syrian forces in the Golan Heights.
The Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution continuing the mandate of the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) through 31 December. It also called on the parties to implement immediately the Council's resolution 338 of October 1973, which decided that the parties should begin negotiations "aimed at establishing a just and durable peace in the Middle East."
The Council also asked 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.
Making a complimentary statement after the vote, Ambassador Jean-Marc de La Sablière of France, Council President for the month, echoed the concerns highlighted by the Secretary-General in his latest report on UNDOF. He observed that the situation in the Middle East was "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." Under those circumstances, he considered the continued presence of UNDOF in the area to be "essential."