Security Council extends UN disengagement force on Israeli-Syrian front

Security Council extends UN disengagement force on Israeli-Syrian front

UNDOF military observer on duty in Mount Hermon, Golan Heights
The Security Council today renewed the 35-year-old United Nations mission observing the ceasefire between Israel and Syria on the Golan Heights for another six months, after Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called its presence “essential” due to overlying regional tensions despite calm on that particular front.

The new mandate of the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), established in May 1974 following the disengagement of Israeli and Syrian forces after the 1973 war, will run until 30 June 2010.

In his report to the Council, Mr. Ban noted that both Syria and Israel agreed to the extension. But he warned that the $45 million in funding for the 1,040-strong force approved by the General Assembly for the period from 1 July 2009 to 30 June 2010 faced a shortfall of $19.9 million as of 30 September.

“The outstanding contributions impede the ability of the Secretariat to support the operations of the Force and to reimburse Member States contributing troops to the Force,” he said.

He called on Israel and Syria to resume the indirect peace talks, initiated under the auspices of Turkey, aimed at a comprehensive peace, and noted that during the last six months, as in the past, both sides denied inspection teams access to some of their positions and imposed restrictions on the Force’s freedom of movement.