SECURITY COUNCIL RENEWS MANDATE OF UNDOF UNTIL 30 NOVEMBER
The Security Council this morning renewed the mandate of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) for a further six months, until 30 November. The UNDOF was established in May 1974 to supervise the ceasefire and the disengagement agreement between Israeli and Syrian forces of 31 May 1974.
Through the unanimous adoption of resolution 1169 (1998), the Council called upon the parties concerned to implement immediately its resolution 338 (1973), which had called upon 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 measures taken to implement that text.
Also, through a statement read out by its President, Njuguna Mahugu (Kenya), the Council recalled that the report of the Secretary-General on UNDOF had stated that, despite the present quiet in the Israel-Syria sector, the situation in the Middle East would continue 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 view of the Security Council.
The meeting, which was called to order at 11:45 a.m., was adjourned at 11:50 a.m.
The text of the presidential statement, to be issued as document S/PRST/1998/15, reads as follows:
The text of resolution 1169 (1998) reads as follows:
"The Security Council,
"Having considered the report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Disengagement Force of 14 May 1998 (S/1998/391),
"(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 30 November 1998;
"(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)."
Report on UNDOF
In recommending the extension of UNDOF's mandate for a further six months, until 30 November, the Secretary-General states in his report (document S/1998/391) that, in the prevailing circumstances in the areas, he considers the continued presence of the Force to be essential. Both the Governments of Syria and Israel have agreed to the Secretary-General's recommendation.
The report, which covers the period from 15 November 1997 to 14 May 1998, states that 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 a comprehensive settlement covering all aspects of the Middle East problem can be reached. The Secretary-General expresses the hope that determined efforts will be made by all concerned to arrive at a just and durable settlement, as called for in Council resolution 338 (1973).
During the period under review, the ceasefire in the Israel-Syria sector was maintained without serious incident, and UNDOF's area of operation remained calm, the report states. The Force supervised the area of separation between Syrian and Israeli forces by means of fixed positions and patrols to ensure that no military forces were there. It also carried out fortnightly inspections of armament and force levels in the areas of limitation. Liaison officers from the concerned party accompanied the inspection teams. As in the past, the inspection teams were denied access by both sides to some of the positions of the parties, and their freedom of movement was also restricted.
As of May, UNDOF -- which was established in 1974 -- comprised 1,048 troops. That figure includes 460 from Austria, 186 from Canada, 45 from Japan and 357 from Poland. By the end of May, a Slovakian platoon will replace an Austrian platoon as an integral part of the Austrian battalion. In addition, UNDOF was assisted by 76 military observers of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO). Major-General David Stapleton continued as Force Commander.
The Secretary-General draws attention to the serious shortfall in the funding of the Force. At present, unpaid assessments amount to some $48.2 million, far larger than UNDOF's annual budget. He appeals to all Member States to pay their assessments promptly and in full, and to clear all remaining arrears.
* Reissued for technical reasons.