SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS ISRAEL-SYRIA DISENGAGEMENT FORCE UNTIL 30 JUNE 2003
NEW YORK, 17 December (UN Headquarters) -- The Security Council this afternoon renewed the mandate of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) for a period of six months, until 30 June 2003. The Force has supervised ceasefire and disengagement between Israel and Syria since 1974.
Unanimously adopting resolution 1451 (2002), the Council called upon the parties concerned to immediately implement its resolution 338 of 22 October 1973, which called for a ceasefire among the parties fighting in the area and negotiations aimed at establishing a just and durable peace in the Middle East. That resolution also called upon the parties, immediately after the ceasefire, to begin implementation of resolution 242 of 22 November 1967, which affirmed that fulfilment of Charter principles included withdrawal of Israel’s armed forces from territories occupied in the conflict, and respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area.
In an accompanying presidential statement (S/PRST/2002/37), the Council President, Alfonso Valdivieso (Colombia), said that the Council’s view was reflected in the Secretary-General’s statement in his report on UNDOF (document S/2002/1328) that "... the situation in the Middle East is very tense and is likely to remain so, unless and until a comprehensive settlement covering all aspects of the Middle East problem can be reached".
The full text of resolution 1451 (2002) reads, as follows:
"The Security Council,
"Having considered the report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force of 4 December 2002 (S/2002/1328), and also reaffirming its resolution 1308 (2000) of 17 July 2000,
"1. Calls upon the parties concerned to implement immediately its resolution 338 (1973) of 22 October 1973;
"2. Decides to renew the mandate of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force for a period of six months, that is, until 30 June 2003;
"3. Requests 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)."
When the Security Council met, it had before it the report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) for the period 18 May 2002 through 5 December
According to the report, the ceasefire in the Israel-Syria sector was maintained and the area of operation of UNDOF remained generally quiet, except in the Shab'a farms area. 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. The UNDOF, which was established in May 1974 to supervise the ceasefire called for by the Council and the agreement on disengagement between Syrian and Israeli forces of 31 May 1974, has continued to perform its functions effectively, with the cooperation of the parties.
The Secretary-General indicates he considers the continued presence of UNDOF in the area to be essential and notes that the Governments of Syria and Israel had agreed to the proposed extension. In making the recommendation for extension, the Secretary-General draws attention to the shortfall in the funding of the Force, amounting to some $21 million in unpaid assessments. He appeals to Member States to pay their assessments promptly and in full, and to clear all remaining arrears.
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