Ban recommends six-month extension of UN force in Golan Heights

Ban recommends six-month extension of UN force in Golan Heights

UNDOF patrolling the Golan Heights.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has recommended that the Security Council extend the mandate of the United Nations force monitoring the ceasefire between Israel and Syria on the Golan Heights for six more months, and stressed the need to ensure unimpeded freedom of movement for the peacekeepers.

In his latest report on the activities of the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), which was set up in May 1974, Mr. Ban notes that the situation in the Israel-Syria sector remained generally quiet during the reporting period, which covers the first half of this year.

At the same time, the events on 15 May and 5 June, in which demonstrations in the UNDOF area of operations commemorating the anniversaries of Al-Nakba and An-Naksa resulted in an unconfirmed number of civilian casualties, are of “grave concern.”

“I call on both parties to show restraint and refrain from provocations so as to prevent the escalation of tensions along the ceasefire line,” says the Secretary-General.

Voicing concern about the increasing restrictions imposed on the Force’s freedom of movement, Mr. Ban states that it is “imperative” that it be able to carry out is mandated tasks unimpeded.

He recommends that the Force be extended until 31 December 2011, noting that its continued presence in the area is “essential” under the prevailing circumstances.