Citing tension in the Middle East, Secretary-General Kofi Annan has recommended a six-month extension of the mandate of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) observing the ceasefire between Israeli and Syrian forces in the Golan Heights.
The situation in the Israel-Syria sector has remained generally quiet, but 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,” Mr. Annan writes in a new report to the Security Council.
“Under the prevailing circumstances, I consider the continued presence of UNDOF in the area to be essential,” he says, recommending that the Council extend the mandate of the Force, set to expire at the end of this month, until 31 December.
Syria and Israel have consented to the extension of the mission, which was established in May 1974 to supervise the ceasefire and the agreement on disengagement between Syrian and Israeli forces.
In making the recommendation, the Secretary-General notes that there is a budget gap, with unpaid dues amounting to some $33.8 million. The sum represents money owed to the Member States that contribute the troops who make up the Force.