14 June 2006

Security Council Extends Mandate of Force Monitoring Israel-Syria Ceasefire until 31 December 2006, Unanimously Adopting Resolution 1685 (2006)

NEW YORK, 13 June (UN Headquarters) -- The Security Council today extended for six months the mandate of the long-running United Nations peacekeeping force observing the ceasefire between Israeli and Syrian forces in the Golan Heights.

The Council's 15 members unanimously adopted a resolution continuing the mandate of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), which began operation in May 1974, through 31 December 2006.

Citing ongoing tension in the Middle East, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan called for the extension last week in his latest report to the Council on UNDOF's activities (document S/2006/333).  "Under the prevailing circumstances, I consider the continued presence of UNDOF in the area to be essential", he says, recommending that the Council extend the mandate of the Force, set to expire at the end of this month, until 31 December.

He noted that, while the situation in the Israel-Syria sector has remained generally quiet over the past six months, 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".  In a related presidential statement (document S/PRST/2006/26) read out today, the Council indicated that the statement of the Secretary-General reflected the view of the Council.

In making the recommendation, the Secretary-General noted that there was a budget gap, with unpaid dues amounting to some $33.8 million.  The sum represented money owed to the Member States that contribute the troops who make up the Force.

The meeting began at 10:13 a.m. and ended at 10:15 a.m.

Council Resolution

The full text of resolution 1685 (2006) reads as follows:

"The Security Council,

"Having considered the report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force of 1 June 2006 (S/2006/333), 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. Welcomes the efforts being undertaken by the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force to implement the Secretary-General's zero tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse and to ensure full compliance of its personnel with the United Nations code of conduct, requests the Secretary-General to continue to take all necessary action in this regard and to keep the Security Council informed, and urges troop-contributing countries to take preventive and disciplinary action to ensure that such acts are properly investigated and punished in cases involving their personnel;

"3. Decides to renew the mandate of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force for a period of six months, that is, until 31 December 2006;

"4. Requests the Secretary-General to submit, at the end of this period, a report on developments in the situation and the measures taken to implement resolution 338 (1973)."

* *** *