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Security Council extends the mandate of UN force monitoring Israeli-Syrian ceasefire

Security Council extends the mandate of UN force monitoring Israeli-Syrian ceasefire

The Security Council today extended for another six months the mandate of the United Nations force that for the past 32 years has monitored the ceasefire between Israel and Syria in the Golan Heights.

The 15-member body “decides to renew the mandate of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) for a period of six months, that is, until 30 June 2007,” it stated in a unanimously adopted resolution.

Shortly after this was adopted, Deputy Permanent Representative Jamal Nasser al-Bader of Qatar, holder of the rotating presidency this month, read out a presidential statement voicing support for Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s recent report on the region, which noted the continuing tension.

“As is known, the report of the Secretary-General… states… ‘the situation in the Middle East is tense and is likely to remain so, unless and until a comprehensive settlement covering all aspects of the Middle East problem can be reached.’ That statement of the Secretary-General reflects the view of the Security Council,” Mr. al-Bader said.

In his report, issued earlier this month, Mr. Annan recommended that given the circumstances the continued presence of UNDOF was “essential,” a view echoing his previous pronouncements on the force, which was established in May 1974 to supervise the disengagement accord between Syrian and Israeli forces after the 1973 war.

UNDOF consists of 1,025 troops from Austria, Canada, India, Japan, Nepal, Poland and Slovakia, and in his report Mr. Annan appealed to Member States to pay their assessments as he highlighted a shortfall of $30.2 million owed to those countries that contribute troops.