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        Security Council
17 November 2000

Original: English

Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations
Disengagement Observer Force
for the period from 23 May to 21 November 2000

I. Introduction

1. The present report gives an account of the activities of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) during the last six months in pursuance of the mandate contained in Security Council resolution 350 (1974) and extended in subsequent resolutions, most recently resolution 1300 (2000) of 31 May 2000.

II. Situation in the area and activities of the Force

2. During the period under review, the ceasefire in the Israel-Syria sector was maintained and the area of operations of UNDOF remained calm. The Force supervised the area of separation by means of fixed positions and patrols to ensure that military forces of either party were excluded from it and also carried out fortnightly inspections of equipment and force levels in the areas of limitation. Liaison officers from the party concerned accompanied the inspection teams. Both sides denied inspection teams access to some of their positions and imposed some restrictions on the Force’s freedom of movement.

3. The Force continued to assist the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) with facilities for mail and the passage of persons through the area of separation. Within the means available, medical treatment was provided to the local population on request. During the last six months, UNDOF assisted 531 students, 281 pilgrims, and 2 detainees in crossing through the area of separation. In addition, UNDOF provided protection at three Druze weddings.

4. In UNDOF’s area of operation, especially in the area of separation, minefields continued to pose a threat to UNDOF personnel and local inhabitants. In consultation with the Syrian authorities, UNDOF instituted a minefield security and maintenance programme in the area of separation to identify and mark all minefields.

5. The Force Commander and his staff maintained close contact with the military liaison staffs of Israel and the Syrian Arab Republic. Both sides cooperated with the Force in the execution of its tasks.

6. As of 30 October 2000, UNDOF comprised 1,039 troops: from Austria (369), Canada (188), Japan (30), Poland (359) and Slovakia (93). In addition, 78 military observers of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) assisted the Force in carrying out its tasks. Major General Cameron Ross relinquished command of the Force on 7 July 2000. He was succeeded on 14 August by Major General Bo Wranker from Sweden. A map showing the deployment of the Force is attached to the present report.

III. Financial aspect

7. By its resolution 54/266 of 15 June 2000, the General Assembly appropriated the amount of $37 million gross, equivalent to a monthly rate of $3.1 million gross, for the maintenance of the Force for the period from 1 July 2000 to 30 June 2001. Therefore, should the Security Council decide to extend the mandate of UNDOF, the cost of maintaining the Force during the extension period would be limited to the monthly rate approved by the General Assembly.

8. As at 31 October 2000, unpaid assessments to the Special Account for UNDOF for the period since the inception of the Force until 30 November 2000 amounted to $21.9 million. Total outstanding assessed contributions for all peacekeeping operations at the same date amounted to $2,095.1 million.

IV. Implementation of Security Council resolution 338 (1973)

9. The Security Council, while deciding in resolution 1300 (2000) to renew the mandate of UNDOF for a further period of six months, also called upon the parties concerned to immediately implement resolution 338 (1973), and requested the Secretary-General to submit, at the end of the period, a report on the developments in the situation and the measures taken to implement that resolution. The search for a peaceful settlement in the Middle East and, in particular, the efforts undertaken at various levels to implement resolution 338 (1973) were dealt with in the report of the Secretary-General on the situation in the Middle East (A/54/495), which was submitted in pursuance of General Assembly resolutions 53/37 and 53/38 of 2 December 1998.

V. Observations

10. The situation in the Israel-Syria sector has remained quiet. UNDOF, which was established in May 1974 to supervise the ceasefire called for by the Security Council and the agreement on disengagement between Syrian and Israeli forces of 31 May 1974, has continued to perform its function effectively, with the cooperation of the parties.

11. Despite the present quiet in the Israel-Syria 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. I hope that determined efforts will be made by all concerned to tackle the problem in all its aspects, with a view to arriving at a just and durable peace settlement, as called for by the Security Council in its resolution 338 (1973).

12. Under the prevailing circumstances, I consider the continued presence of UNDOF in the area to be essential. I therefore recommend that the Security Council extend the mandate of the Force for a further period of six months, until 31 May 2001. The Government of the Syrian Arab Republic has given its assent to the proposed extension. The Government of Israel has also expressed its agreement.

13. In making this recommendation, I must draw attention to the shortfall in the funding of the Force. At present, unpaid assessments amount to some $21.9 million. This sum represents money owed to the Member States that contribute the troops who make up the Force. I appeal to the Member States to pay their assessments promptly and in full and to clear all remaining arrears.

14. In conclusion, I wish to pay tribute to Major General Ross and Major General Wranker and to the men and women serving with UNDOF. They have performed with efficiency and devotion to duty the important tasks assigned to them by the Security Council. I take this opportunity to express my appreciation to the Governments contributing troops to UNDOF and to those that provide the UNTSO military observers assigned to the Force.


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