Department of Public Information · News Coverage Service ·
4071st Meeting (PM)
24 November 1999
SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS UN DISENGAGEMENT OBSERVER FORCE
ON SYRIAN GOLAN UNTIL 30 MAY 2000
Resolution 1276 (1999) Adopted Unanimously
The Security Council this afternoon renewed the mandate of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) for a further six months, until 30 May 2000. The UNDOF was established in May 1974 to supervise the ceasefire and the disengagement agreement between Israel and Syrian forces of 31 May 1974.
Through the unanimous adoption of resolution 1276 (1999) the Council called on the parties concerned to implement immediately resolution 338 (1973) of 22 October. By that resolution, the Council had called on the parties to arrive at a comprehensive and durable peace.
The Council requested the Secretary-General to report to it at the end of the new mandate period on the development in the situation and the measures taken to implement resolution 338 (1973).
Also, through a statement read out by its President, Danilo Turk (Slovenia), the Council recalled that, in his report on UNDOF, the Secretary-General had stated that despite the present quiet on the Israeli-Syrian sector, the situation in the Middle East continued to be potentially dangerous and was likely to remain so, unless and until a comprehensive settlement covering all aspects of the Middle East problem could be reached. That statement of the Secretary-General reflected the views of the Council.
The meeting, which was called to order at 12:20 p.m., was adjourned at 12:24 p.m.
The text of resolution 1276 (1999) reads as follows:
"The Security Council,
"Having considered the report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force of 15 November 1999 (S/1999/1175),
"(a) To call upon the parties concerned to implement immediately its resolution 338 (1973) of 22 October 1973;
"(b) To renew the mandate of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force for another period of six months, that is, until 31 May 2000;
"(c) To request the Secretary-General to submit, at the end of this period, a report on the development in the situation and the measures taken to implement Security Council resolution 338 (1973)."
The text of the presidential statement, to be issued as document S/PRST/1999/33, reads as follows:
"As is known, the report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (S/1999/1175) states, in paragraph 10:
'Despite the present quiet in the Israeli-Syrian sector, the situation in the Middle East continues to be potentially dangerous 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."
The Council had before it the Secretary-General's report on the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), covering the period from 16 May to 15 November (document S/1999/1175). Mr. Annan asks the Council to extend UNDOF's mandate for an additional six months, until 31 May 2000. The cost of maintaining the Force during the extension period would be limited to the monthly rate of almost $3 million already approved by the General Assembly in its resolution 53/226 of 8 June. Both the Government of Syria and of Israel had expressed agreement to the proposed extension.
Mr. Annan reports a serious shortfall in funding the Force. Unpaid assessments amount to $53.8 million, which is larger than the Force's current annual budget of nearly $35.4 million. Explaining that the money is owed to Member States that contribute troops, Mr. Annan calls on all Member States to pay their assessments and clear remaining arrears.
During the reporting period, the ceasefire in the Israeli-Syrian sector was maintained without serious incident, and the Force's area remained calm, the Secretary-General reports. However, the situation in the Middle East continues to be potentially dangerous and is likely to remain so unless and until a comprehensive settlement covering all aspects of the Middle East problem is reached. All parties should make determined efforts to tackle the problem, in all its aspects, with a view to arriving at a just and durable peace settlement, he stresses.
During the reporting period, the Force supervised the areas of separation by means of fixed positions and patrols to ensure that no military forces were in it. It carried out inspections of armament and force levels in the areas of limitation, accompanied by liaison officers from the party concerned. Both sides denied inspection teams access to some of their positions and imposed restrictions on the Force's freedom of movement. Renewed efforts are under way to have those restrictions eased. The Force assisted the International Committee of the Red Cross and provided medical treatment to the local population upon request. Minefields continue to be a concern. On 12 September, UNDOF evacuated a Syrian shepherd who had been injured after stepping on a mine.
The Force's current strength is 1,053 troops, and it was assisted during the reporting period by 78 military observers from the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), the report states.
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For information media - not an official record