30 June 2004
New Security Council Resolution Approves Six-Month Mandate Extension for United Nations Disengagement Observer Force in Middle East
Accompanying Presidential Statement Notes Continuing Tension in Region Cited in Secretary-Generals Report
NEW YORK, 29 June (UN Headquarters) -- The Security Council this morning renewed the mandate of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), which was to expire at midnight tomorrow, for a further six months, until 31 December. The Force has supervised the ceasefire between Israel and Syria since 1974.
By its unanimous adoption of resolution 1550 (2004), the Council also called upon the parties concerned to immediately implement its resolution 338 of October 1973. Among the provisions of that text, the Council decided that negotiations should start between the parties with the aim of establishing a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.
Also by the 1973 resolution, the Council called upon the parties to begin implementing its resolution 242 of November 1967, which affirmed that fulfilment of United Nations Charter principles included withdrawal of Israels 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 a complementary presidential statement (document S/PRST/2004/23), Council President Lauro L. Baja, Jr. (Philippines) said that the Councils view had been reflected by the Secretary-Generals latest report on UNDOF (document S/2004/499), in which he states 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 meeting began at 10:10 a.m. and adjourned at 10:13 a.m.
The full text of resolution 1550 (2004) reads as follows:
The Security Council,
Having considered the report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force of 21 June 2004 (S/2004/499), 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 31 December 2004;
3. 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).
The full text of the presidential statement (document S/PRST/2004/23) reads as follows:
As is known, the report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (S/2004/449) states in paragraph 12: ...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. That statement of the Secretary-General reflects the view of the Security Council.
The Secretary-Generals report recommends a six-month mandate extension, although the situation in the Golan Heights has remained generally quiet over the past six months. The situation in the Middle East is very tense and likely to remain so and, under the circumstances, the Secretary-General considers the continued presence of UNDOF to be essential.
The UNDOF was established to supervise the ceasefire called for by the Security Council and the agreement of 31 May 1974 on disengagement between Syrian and Israeli forces. It currently has 1,050 troops from Austria, Canada, Japan, Nepal, Poland and Slovakia. In addition, 78 military observers of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) help the Force in carrying out its tasks.
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