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Security Council extends mandate of UN force in Golan Heights

UNDOF peacekeepers on patrol in the Golan Heights.
UN Photo/Gernot Payer
UNDOF peacekeepers on patrol in the Golan Heights.

Security Council extends mandate of UN force in Golan Heights

The Security Council today agreed to extend the mandate of the United Nations peacekeeping force monitoring the ceasefire between Israel and Syria in the Golan Heights for another six months.

In a resolution adopted unanimously by its 15 members, the Council authorized an extension of the mandate of the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) through 30 June 2012. The mission was first established in 1974.

The resolution voiced grave concern about the impact of events on 15 May and 5 June this year – when demonstrations in UNDOF’s area of operations resulted in civilians being killed – on the long-held ceasefire in the area.

The 15 May protests commemorated Al-Nakba or “the catastrophe,” the term used by many Palestinians to refer to the displacement of Palestinians when Israel became independent in 1948. The 5 June protests marked An-Naksa or “day of the setback,” which refers to Palestinian displacement that accompanied the Six-Day War in 1967.

Today’s resolution also urged both Israel and Syria to exercise maximum restraint and prevent any breaches of the ceasefire and the area of separation between the two parties.

The Council was also briefed today by the chairperson of the committee monitoring the arms embargo imposed on Iran over its nuclear programme on its work over the last three months.

Ambassador Néstor Osorio of Colombia informed the Council of an upcoming meeting to discuss reports in connection to two alleged incidents of non-compliance by Member States, which entailed unfreezing funds to make a payment for a contract that was signed prior to establishing the sanctions, and delivering items for use in the nuclear power plant in Bushehr, Iran.

Mr. Osorio also updated the Council on current measures being taken by States to facilitate compliance with the resolution, such as preventing shipping vessels from sending items to Iran that are prohibited under the resolution.