Press Release
Department of Public Information · News Coverage Service · New York

25 November 1998


UNTIL 31 MAY 1999

The Security Council this afternoon renewed the mandate of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) for a further six months, until 31 May 1999. The UNDOF was established in May 1974 to supervise the ceasefire called for by the Council and the Israeli-Syrian disengagement agreement.

As it unanimously adopted resolution 1211 (1998), the Council called on the parties concerned to implement immediately resolution 338 (1973). The Council asked the Secretary-General to report to it at the end of extended mandate period on measures taken to implement that text.

Under resolution 338 (1973), the Council called for a ceasefire, the termination of all military activity and the immediate implementation of resolution 242 (1967). By resolution 242, the Council called for a just and lasting peace which included the withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in 1967 and respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in secure and recognized boundaries.

Also, through a statement read out by its President, A. Peter Burleigh (United States), the Council recalled that the Secretary-General's report on UNDOF had stated that despite the present quiet in the Israeli-Syrian sector, the situation in the Middle East continued to be potentially dangerous and was likely to remain so, until a comprehensive settlement of the Middle East problem could be reached. That statement reflected the view of the Council.

The meeting, which began at 12.58 p.m., was adjourned at 1 p.m.

Presidential Statement

The text of the presidential statement, to be issued as document S/PRST/1998/33, reads as follows:

Text of Resolution
Report of Secretary-General

The Security Council's action this afternoon was based on the Secretary-General's assessment that the continued presence of UNDOF in the area is essential. His recommendation that the mandate be extended for a further period of six months, until 31 May 1999, is contained in his report on UNDOF's activities during the past six months (document S/1998/1073). The Governments of Syria and Israel have agreed to the proposed extension.

The Secretary-General states that during the period under review, UNDOF -- established in May 1974 to supervise the ceasefire called for by the Security Council and the agreement on disengagement between Israeli and Syrian forces of 31 May 1974 -- has continued to perform its functions effectively. The ceasefire in the Israeli-Syrian sector was maintained without serious incident, and UNDOF's area of operations remained calm. As in the past, both sides denied inspection teams access to some of their positions and imposed some restrictions on the Force's freedom of movement.

Despite the present quiet in the Israeli-Syrian sector, the Secretary-General says, the situation in the Middle East continues to be potentially dangerous and is likely to remain so, unless a comprehensive settlement covering all aspects of the Middle East problem can be reached. He hopes for determined efforts by all concerned to achieve a just and durable peace settlement.

The cost of maintaining the Force during the extension period would be limited to a monthly rate of $2.9 million gross. As of 5 November 1998, total unpaid assessments to the special account for UNDOF amounted to $52.9 million. Drawing attention to the serious shortfall in the funding of the Force, the Secretary-General states that this sum, far larger than the current annual budget of UNDOF, represents money owed to Member States that contribute the troops which make up the Force. The Secretary-General appeals to all Member States to pay their assessments promptly and in full and to clear all remaining arrears.

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