31 May 2002
Security Council Extends Force Monitoring Israel-Syria Disengagement Until 31 December, Unanimously Adopting Resolution 1415 (2002)
NEW YORK, 30 May (UN Headquarters) -- The Security Council this morning extended the mandate of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) for another seven months, until 31 December 2002.
Unanimously adopting resolution 1415 (2002), the Council also called on the parties concerned to immediately implement resolution 338 of 1973.
The UNDOF was established following the October 1973 war 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 adoption of the resolution, the Council President, Kishore Mahbubani (Singapore), read out a complementary statement concurring with paragraph 11 of the Secretary-General's report on UNDOF, in which he called the situation in the Middle East very tense and likely to remain so, unless and until a comprehensive settlement covering all aspects of the problem was reached.
The full text of the resolution reads, as follows:
"The Security Council,
"Having considered the report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force of 17 May 2002 (S/2002/542), 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 seven months, that is, until 31 December 2002;
"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 a report of the Secretary-General on UNDOF (document S/2002/542). In it, the Secretary General says that the situation in the Middle East is "very tense" and likely to remain so, unless and until a comprehensive settlement can be reached. Under the prevailing circumstances, he considers the continued presence of UNDOF in the area to be essential and, therefore, recommends its extension for a further six months until 30 November.
In making that recommendation, he says he must draw attention to the shortfall in the funding of the Force; unpaid assessments amount to some $15.7 million. This represents money owed to the troop-contributing countries. He appeals to Member States to pay their assessments promptly and in full and to clear all remaining arrears.
Also according to the report, which covers the period from 16 November 2001 to 17 May 2002, the situation in the Israel-Syria sector has remained generally quiet, except in the Shab'a farms area, which saw increased activity originating from the area of operation of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). The UNDOF, which was established in May 1974 to supervise the ceasefire called for by the Security Council and the agreement on disengagement between Syrian and Israeli forces of 31 May 1974, has continued to be effective.
In the area of operation, especially in the area of separation, mines continued to pose a threat to UNDOF personnel and local inhabitants. Through the Minefield Security Programme, initiated with the cooperation of the Syrian authorities, numerous known and previously unidentified minefields in the area of separation were marked. The UNDOF also supported the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in activities to promote mine awareness among the civilians.
* *** *