Department of Public Information · News Coverage Service ·
4428th Meeting (AM)
27 November 2001
SECURITY COUNCIL AUTHORIZES SIX-MONTH EXTENSION OF UNDOF MANDATE,
UNTIL 31 MAY 2002
The Security Council this morning decided to renew the mandate of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) for another six months, until 31 May 2002.
The Council took that action in unanimously adopting resolution 1381 (2001), by whose terms it also calls upon the parties concerned to immediately implement its resolution
338 of 1973
The UNDOF was established as a result of the October war of 1973 in the Middle East. An Agreement on Disengagement was reached on 31 May 1974 between Israeli and Syrian forces, which, besides calling for a United Nations observer force, provided for an area of separation between the parties.
After the resolution was adopted, the Council heard a statement read on its behalf by its President, M. Patricia Durrant of Jamaica. The statement concurred with paragraph 12 of the Secretary-General’s report on UNDOF, in which he called the situation in the Middle East potentially dangerous and likely to remain so, unless and until a comprehensive settlement was reached.
The meeting, which began at 10:13 a.m., was adjourned at 10:15 a.m.
The full text of presidential statement S/PRST/2001/37, reads as follows:
“As is known, the report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (S/2001/1079) states, in paragraph 12: ‘... 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.”
When the Security Council met this morning,
it had before it a report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) (document
). In the report, the Secretary-General recommends that the Council extend the mandate of the Force for a further period of six months until 31 May 2002.
During the period under review, the ceasefire in the Israel-Syria sector was maintained and the area of operation of UNDOF remained generally 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. Mines continued to pose a threat to UNDOF personnel and local inhabitants. Through the Minefield Security Programme, numerous known, as well as previously unidentified, minefields in the area of separation were marked. The UNDOF also supported the activities of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to promote mine awareness among the civilian population.
During the reporting period, the Secretary-General says, UNDOF undertook a comprehensive review of its facilities, support structure and deployment. To improve its ability to carry out its mandate effectively, UNDOF has initiated a modernization programme. Key components of this programme are the full integration of the military and civilian administrative and logistics component of the Force, replacement of outdated facilities, consolidation of some positions in the area of separation and enhancement of the mobility of the Force. As at 31 October 2001, unpaid assessed contributions to the Special Account for UNDOF amounted to $19.6 million.
The Secretary-General observes that 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. Under the prevailing circumstances, he says, the continued presence of UNDOF in the area is essential.
Background on UNDOF
As a result of the October war of 1973 in the Middle East -- between Egyptian and Israeli forces in the Suez Canal area and the Sinai, and between Israeli and Syrian forces on the Golan Heights -- an Agreement on Disengagement was reached on 31 May 1974 between Israeli and Syrian forces, which provided for an area of separation and called for a United Nations observer force (established by
Security Council resolution 350
The UNDOF maintains an area of separation, which is some 80 kilometres long and varies in width between 10 and one kilometres. From its various positions and through its patrols, the Force supervises the area of separation and intervenes whenever any military personnel enter or try to operate therein. On each side of the separation area, there is an area of limitation, which UNDOF inspects every two weeks in order to ascertain that the agreed limitations in armaments and forces are being observed.
The full text of resolution 1381 (2001) reads, as follows:
The Security Council
the report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force of 15 November 2001 (S/2001/1079), and
its resolution 1308 (2000) of 17 July 2000,
the parties concerned to implement immediately its resolution 338 (1973) of 22 October 1973;
to renew the mandate of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force for another period of six months, that is, until 31 May 2002;
the Secretary-General to submit, at the end of this period, a report on the developments in the situation and the measures taken to implement resolution 338 (1973).”
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For information media - not an official record