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27 November 1974
27 November 1974
REPORT OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL ON THE UNITED NATIONS
DISENGAGEMENT OBSERVER FORCE
(for the period 3 June 1974 to 26 November 1974)
INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
I. ESTABLISHMENT AND COMPOSITION OF THE FORCE . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
A. Establishment of UNDOF . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
B. Composition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
C. Functions and guidelines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
II. DEPLOYMENT AND LOGISTICS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
A. Deployment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
B. Accommodation of the Force . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
C. Logistic support . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
III. ACTIVITIES OF THE FORCE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
A. Disengagement of forces and establishment of area of
separation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
B. Maintenance of the cease-fire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
C. Supervision of the Agreement on Disengagement with
regard to the areas of separation and limitation . . . . . . . . 9
IV. FINANCIAL ASPECTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
V. OBSERVATIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
MAP. UNDOF DEPLOYMENT SITUATION AS OF 14 NOVEMBER 1974
1. This report, which covers the period from the inception of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) on 3 June 1974 to 26 November 1974, presents a summary of developments relating to UNDOF on which information has been submitted to the Security Council in my progress reports on the Force (S/11310 and Add.1 to 4), as well as an account of events which have taken place since my last progress report (S/11310/Add.4). The purpose of the report is to provide the Security Council with a comprehensive picture of the activities of UNDOF in pursuance of the mandate entrusted to it by the Council in its resolution 350 (1974) of 31 May 1974.
2. During this period, UNDOF, in its initial phase, co-operated fully with Israeli and Syrian military officials in controlling the process of separation and disengagement of forces that was completed on 27 June 1974. Since then, it has been supervising the area of separation and inspecting the areas of limitation of armaments and forces, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Agreement and its Protocol (S/11302/Add.1). By its performance of these activities, UNDOF has contributed to the stabilization of the cease-fire called for by the Security Council in resolution 338 (1973) of 22 October 1973.
I. ESTABLISHMENT AND COMPOSITION OF THE FORCE
Establishment of UNDOF
3. In my first progress report on 5 June 1974 (S/11310), I informed the Council that the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), set up by the Security Council in its resolution 350 (1974), had become operational on 3 June, when the Interim Force Commander of UNDOF, Brigadier-General Gonzalo Briceño Zevallos, established temporary offices in the building occupied in Damascus by the Israel-Syria Mixed Armistice Commission. The same report also gave information about the movements of advance parties and elements of the Austrian and Peruvian contingents that had been transferred from the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) to serve with UNDOF. Details were also given about the movements to the UNDOF area of operation of elements of the Canadian and Polish logistic contingents serving with UNEF. In a further progress report on 18 June 1974 (S/11310/Add.1), I noted that the transfer of the Austrian and Peruvian battalions from the UNEF area of operations to the Israeli-Syrian sector had been practically completed. Subsequently, small parties of the two battalions that had remained in the UNEF area to guard equipment were also transferred. The Governments of Austria, Canada, Peru and Poland expressly agreed to those transfers and movements of their troops. In accordance with the statement that I made to the Council at its 1774th meeting on 31 May 1974, 90 United Nations military observers, who were already in the area, were detailed to serve as members of UNDOF.
4. As of 26 November, the strength of the Force, including UNDOF headquarters
staff, was as follows:
Headquarters staff 10
Military observers 88
(detailed from UNTSO)
5. The Austrian battalion carried out a partial rotation in August and is carrying out another during November. The Peruvian battalion was partially rotated in July, and a further partial rotation took place in November. The Canadian and Polish units rotate in small groups at regular intervals.
6. In response to a request by the Secretary-General, the Austrian Government made available an engineering platoon to assist in the construction of winter accommodation for UNDOF troops. This unit, which arrived on 12 September 1974, consists of one officer and 23 other ranks. It will be withdrawn from UNDOF when it has completed its task. Also in response to a request from the Secretary-General, the Canadian Government provided a team of five construction engineering specialists to assist in construction of accommodation for UNDOF personnel. The Canadian team arrived in the Golan on 6 September and will remain until the project is completed.
7. The Peruvian Government has indicated to me its intention to withdraw its contingent with UNDOF during the first half of 1975.
Functions and guidelines
8. The functions of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force are outlined in paragraph E of the Agreement on Disengagement between Israeli and Syrian forces and its Protocol. Specifically, UNDOF is required to use its best efforts to maintain the cease-fire and to see that it is scrupulously observed. It is also called upon to supervise the Agreement and Protocol with regard to the areas of separation and limitation. It should be recalled that in my statement to the Council at its 1773rd meeting on 30 May 1974, I expressed the intention to set up the Force on the basis of the same general principles as those defined in my report on the implementation of Security Council resolution 340 (1973), contained in document S/11052/Rev.1, which was approved by the Security Council in its resolution 341 (1973) of 27 October 1973.
9. At the session of the Egyptian-Israeli Military Working Group of the Geneva Peace Conference held in Geneva on 5 June 1974 with a Syrian military delegation participating (S/11302/Add.2), practical arrangements were agreed upon for the implementation of the Agreement and Protocol (see S/11302/Add.2). The tasks of UNDOF under those arrangements involve the implementation of paragraphs B.1 and B.4 of the Agreement on Disengagement and verification by inspection of the parties' strict observance of the agreed levels of forces and armaments within the zones mentioned in paragraph B.5 of the Agreement. The Force is at present fulfilling its mandate in co-operation with the parties.
10. Attention should be drawn to certain characteristics of the guidelines within which UNDOF is required to function. In the Israel-Syria sector, the area of separation is placed under Syrian civil administration, and the Agreement (para. B.2) states that Syrian civilians will return to the area. Furthermore, UNDOF is expected to comply with generally applicable Syrian laws and regulations while carrying out its mission and is required not to hamper the functions of local civil administration.
11. Discussions are currently under way by United Nations officials at Headquarters in New York and officials of Israel and Syria respectively in connexion with the negotiation of agreements on the status of the Force. The main object of these discussions is to conclude agreements that will embody the principles of the Charter and of the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations, as well as the experience of previous United Nations peace-keeping operations, so as to ensure the independent functioning of the Force in accordance with the resolutions of the Security Council. It should also be noted that under the provisions of the Protocol to the Agreement on Disengagement between Israeli and Syrian forces, UNDOF is to "enjoy freedom of movement and communication and other facilities that are necessary for its mission".
12. I have asked Lieutenant-General Ensio Siilasvuo, Commander of UNEF, who was Chairman of the Military Working Group of the Geneva Peace Conference and has a long acquaintance with the area, to take part in high-level contacts and, as occasion requires, in meetings between the Interim Force Commander of UNDOF and military representatives of Israel and Syria concerning the functioning of the Force. The maintenance of full co-operation with the parties is an essential element for carrying out the tasks of the Force. Consequently, UNDOF maintains close contact with the military liaison staffs of Israel and Syria.
13. In the six months since its establishment UNDOF, with the assistance of both parties, has overcome a number of difficulties in order to be in a position to carry out its tasks effectively. One of the problems still outstanding relates to restrictions on the freedom of movement of some UNDOF personnel. I have already had occasion to refer to this problem in my report on UNEF (S/11536, para. 26). As in the case of UNEF, I have taken the position that UNDOF must function as an integrated and efficient military unit with the freedom of movement specified in the Protocol to the Disengagement Agreement, that its contingents must serve on an equal basis under the command of the Interim Force Commander and that no differentiation can be made regarding the United Nations status of various contingents. As in the case of UNFF, the matter is being actively pursued.
II. DEPLOYMENT AND LOGISTICS
14. The changes in the deployment of the Force during the process of disengagement and after its completion on 27 June 1974 have been outlined in my progress reports to the Council (S/11310 and Add.1-4).
15. UNDOF troops are deployed within and close to the area of separation, with base camps and logistic support units situated in close proximity to that area. The Force headquarters is at Damascus.
16. The Austrian battalion mans positions within the area of separation north of Quneitra. The transfer of its base from Kanakir to a camp at Faouar some 8 kilometres east of the B-line of disengagement, referred to in my last progress report (S/11310/Add.4, para. 4), has been completed. The new camp was formally taken over on 26 October, and the battalion headquarters became fully operational at Faouar on 4 November 1974.
17. The Peruvian battalion mans positions within and close to the area of separation south of Quneitra. Its base camp remains at Camp Bolivar, a few kilometres south of Quneitra.
18. The Canadian logistic unit and some signal elements are also located at Camp Bolivar. Other Canadian signal elements are at Damascus, Faouar and Quneitra.
19. The Polish logistic unit completed its move to Faouar on 3 November.
20. The UNTSO military observers assigned to UNDOF are located at Tiberias and at Damascus. They fill staff positions at UNDOF headquarters, man a number of former UNTSO observation posts close to the area of separation, carry out the inspections of the areas of limitation and, when required, assist UNDOF troops in manning positions.
21. UNDOF maintains a small operations unit at Quneitra, which is responsible for communications relay and movement control in the area, and an office at the UNTSO control centre at Tiberias, which handles the UNDOF observers base there. There is also a liaison office in Jerusalem.
22. UNDOF troops and observers at present man a total of 48 posts within or close to the area of separation.
Accommodation of the Force
23. In my progress report dated 30 July 1974 (S/11310/Add.3), I referred to the need to provide suitable accomodation for UNDOF troops during the severe Golan winter and noted that a survey of needs and costs was being carried out. This survey has been completed and a plan based on it is being implemented. Both parties have co-operated with the United Nations in providing assistance for this work, either by way of direct financial contribution or by making available free of charge materials, equipment and labour. A new site for the Austrian base camp and the Polish logistic unit has been provided by the Syrian authorities at Faouar, where UNDOF is repairing existing buildings and erecting new ones (see paras. 16 and 19 above). Similar work is being carried out with Israeli assistance at Camp Bolivar for the Peruvian base and the Canadian logistic unit. Also, at each of the positions manned by UNDOF troops prefabricated buildings are being erected. Work on all these projects is progressing satisfactorily.
24. UNDOF headquarters is still located in two separate buildings in Damascus, one of which it shares with UNTSO. This arrangement is not wholly satisfactory, and it is hoped that a suitable building can soon be found to accommodate all elements of the headquarters. The Syrian authorities are assisting in this matter.
25. Logistic support for the Force is provided by a Canadian logistic company and a Polish logistic company. The Canadian company stationed in Camp Bolivar provides supply and transport services. The Polish company stationed in Camp Faouar provides engineer support and some transport. The Canadian and Polish logistic companies maintain close links with their respective parent contingents in UNEF; the respective commanders of the Canadian and Polish units with UNEF exercise over-all supervision of the companies serving with UNDOF.
26. Communications are provided by a Canadian signal troop and UNTSO civilian operators, using a mixture of UNDOF and UNTSO equipment. UNTSO civilian staff man and maintain rear link equipment in Damascus and the teletype links in Quneitra and Tiberias as well as maintaining their equipment throughout the Force. The Canadian signal troop mans the Force message centre in Force headquarters and provides a signal detachment to each of the Austrian, Peruvian, Canadian and Queneitra operations centres. The Force has telex communication to Quneitra and Tiberias and voice links to all outstations and also runs a signal dispatch service by road.
27. The Force medical service consists of a Force senior staff medical officer (detailed from the Austrian battalion) and contingent medical officers. Patients requiring other than minor treatment or emergency first aid are evacuated to local hospitals and, occasionally, to UNEF hospital facilities.
III. ACTIVITIES OF THE FORCE
Disengagement of forces and establishment of area of separation
28. UNDOF assisted in the process of disengagement of forces in accordance with the plan and time-table agreed upon by the Military Working Group of the Geneva Peace Conference (see S/11302/Add.2 and 3). The details of this assistance have already been reported to the Security Council (S/11310/Add.1, paras. 5-9, and Add.2, paras. 4-9). In accordance with the agreed time-table, Syrian civil administration was established in the area of separation, which includes the towns of Quneitra and Rafid and part of Mount Hermon, on 25 June. This area had been handed over to UNDOF by the Israeli forces during 24 and 25 June 1974. The necessary inspections of the 10-kilometre and 20-kilometre zones of limited armament and forces, as well as the 25-kilometre zones, were carried out on 26 and 27 June 1974, thus completing the implementation of the disengagement plan on schedule.
29. The marking on the ground of the lines defining the area of separation, a task entrusted to UNDOF under the Protocol to the Agreement, has now been completed. The marking of the A-1 line, a demilitarized area west of Quneitra, has also been completed. In each case, the marking was done with the assistance of the party concerned. As noted in my last progress report, additional markers are required in some areas to make the A and B lines more readily identifiable on the ground. Work on this is still proceeding.
Maintenance of the cease-fire
30. During the period under review with the exception of three confirmed shooting incidents, the cease-fire has been maintained.
31. In the past few weeks, UNDOF has observed a number of overflights in the area of separation contrary to the Disengagement Agreement. Owing to the high altitude at which the aircraft were flying, it was not possible to identify them. In any case, concern has been expressed by the Interim Force Commander to both parties, with the request that maximum restraint be observed.
32. UNDOF has received a number of complaints from both parties about alleged violations of the Agreement with regard to the area of separation. It has investigated these complaints and passed on the results to the party concerned. In addition, it has drawn the attention of the parties to violations observed by UNDOF troops and observers. Whenever necessary, the parties have been requested to take remedial action.
33. Four members of the Austrian battalion were killed on 25 June 1974 as a result of a mine accident. Another Austrian was seriously injured in a separate mine accident.
34. As I stated in my progress report of 25 October 1974 (S/11310/Add.4, para. 12), a United Nations aircraft, flying from Ismailia to Damascus in the established air corridor, crashed on 9 August 1974, as a result of anti-aircraft fire north-east of the village of Ad Dimas. All nine Canadians aboard the aircraft were killed. Efforts are currently being made to work out procedures to avoid the recurrence of such an incident.
Supervision of the Agreement on Disengagement with regard
to the areas of separation and limitation
Area of separation
35. UNDOF has continued to supervise the area of separation to ensure that there are no military forces within it, in accordance with its mandate. It has carried out this function by means of static posts, which are manned 24 hours a day, and by mobile police.
36. In carrying out the mission assigned to UNDOF the Commander and personnel of UNDOF have performed their tasks in a manner which neither hampers the Syrian civil administration nor derogates from Syria's sovereignty. I am glad to report that relations between UNDOF and civilian authorities, as well as with the civilian population in the area, are good.
37. As noted in my progress reports, the continued existence of large and uncleared minefields within the area of separation constitutes an ever present hazard to both UNDOF troops and the Syrian civilian population. The negotiations I referred to in my last progress report (S/11310/Add.4, para. 6), to enable a large mine-clearing operation to be carried out, have so far made no progress. As the return of the civilian population to the area of separation, called for in paragraph B.2 of the Disengagement Agreement, is hampered by the presence of uncleared minefields, it is important to resolve this problem at an early date. The clearing of minefields would obviously require the full co-operation of both parties. Lieutenant-General Siilasvuo in his high-level contacts with the parties has offered his good offices by making suggestions that would facilitate an understanding which would allow the clearing of minefields. These efforts are being continued.
Areas of limitation
38. UNDOF has continued to carry out the inspections of the areas of limitation of armaments and forces as provided for in the Agreement. The inspections are carried out with the assistance of liaison officers from the parties who accompany the UNDOF inspection teams in their respective areas. According to the Agreement, the findings of the inspections are made available only to the parties. UNDOF lends its assistance and good offices in cases where one of the parties raises questions concerning the observance of the agreed limitations of armaments and forces.
IV. FINANCIAL ASPECTS
39. The Security Council will recall that in paragraph 40 of my report of 12 October 1974 (S/11536) on the United Nations Emergency Force, I indicated that the estimated costs of a further six months of operation to 24 April 1975 would, on the basis of the rate of obligations and reimbursement ceiling for troop costs set out in paragraph 39 of that report, be of the order of $40 million and that the share of those costs attributable to UNDOF would be indicated in the report that I would submit prior to the Council's consideration of the renewal of the mandate of UNDOF.
40. Since then, on 30 October 1974, I have submitted my report to the General Assembly on the financing of UNEF (including UNDOF) (A/9822). I have further indicated, based on the assumptions underlying the table in annex II of that report, that of the estimated costs of $40 million for a six-month period from 25 October 1974 to 24 April 1975 inclusive, the costs attributable to UNDOF would be approximately $7.6 million. Accordingly, should the Security Council extend UNDOF's mandate for a further six-month period, the related costs, on the same basis, would be approximately $7.6 million.
41. With the conclusion of the Agreement on Disengagement between Israeli and Syrian forces and the establishment of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force, fighting between Israeli and Syrian forces came to an end on 31 May 1974. Since that time the situation on the Golan Heights has been quiet.
42. Unlike previous United Nations peace-keeping forces, UNDOF was set up for the purpose of supervising a specific agreement concluded by the parties, in accordance with the stipulations agreed to by them. During the period under review, UNDOF was able, with the co-operation of the parties, to fulfil the tasks entrusted to it. Such difficulties as arose in relation to the interpretation of the provisions of the Disengagement Agreement and related documents were resolved in negotiations with the parties.
43. It is specifically stated in the Disengagement Agreement that it is not a peace agreement but a step towards a just and durable peace on the basis of Security Council resolution 338 (1973) of 22 October 1973. Despite the present quiet, the situation in the Israel-Syria sector will remain fundamentally unstable and potentially explosive so long as progress towards a settlement of the underlying problems is not achieved.
44. I consider that the continued operation of UNDOF is essential not only for the maintenance of the present quiet in the area, but also to assist any further efforts towards the establishment of a just and durable peace in the Middle East. As members of the Security Council are aware, I have just paid a visit to the area, primarily to discuss and clarify with the Governments concerned the question now before the Council. In the light of these discussions, I recommend that the Security Council extend the mandate of UNDOF for a further period of six months.
45. When UNDOF was first set up, I proposed, and the Security Council concurred, that it should be made up of certain contingents transferred from UNEF and of some 90 military observers drawn from UNTSO. This arrangement has worked out satisfactorily and, by using the resources of the two existing peace-keeping operations in the Middle East, has resulted in considerable savings for the United Nations. It is my intention to continue this arrangement if the Security Council should decide to extend the mandate of UNDOF.
46. In concluding this report, I wish to express my gratitude to the Governments contributing troops to UNDOF and to those which provide UNTSO military observers assigned to UNDOF. I wish to reiterate the expression of my deep sympathy to the Governments concerned and to the families of those members of UNDOF who have given their lives in the service of peace. I wish also to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the Interim Force Commander, Brigadier-General Gonzalo Briceño Zevallos, to the officers and men of UNDOF and to its civilian staff, as well as to UNTSO military observers assigned to UNDOF, for the efficient manner in which they have performed their important and difficult duties.