Noting “the very tense situation in the Middle East,” the Security Council today extended for six months the mandate of the long-running United Nations peacekeeping force observing the ceasefire between Israeli and Syrian forces in the Golan Heights.
The Council’s 15 members unanimously adopted a resolution continuing the mandate of the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) – which began operation in May 1974 – through 30 June next year.
They also urged Syria and Israel to immediately implement Resolution 338 from October 1973, which calls on the two parties to start negotiations “aimed at establishing a just and durable peace in the Middle East.”
Welcoming UNDOF’s efforts to implement the Secretary-General’s zero-tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers, the resolution also urged troop-contributing countries to take preventive and disciplinary action to ensure that any acts involving their personnel are properly investigated and punished.
In a statement after the vote, Adam Thomson, Deputy Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom, which holds the rotating Council presidency this month, echoed the concerns highlighted in the Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s latest report on the activities of UNDOF.
Mr. Thomson 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.”