16 December 2004
Security Council Extends UN Disengagement Observer Force until 30 June 2005, Unanimously Adopting Resolution 1578 (2004)
In Complementary Presidential Statement, Council Reiterates Need for Comprehensive Settlement Covering All Aspects of Middle East Problem
NEW YORK, 15 December (UN Headquarters) -- The Security Council this morning renewed the mandate of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), which was set to expire on 31 December, for a further six months, until 30 June 2005. The Force has supervised the ceasefire between Israel and Syria since 1974.
Unanimously adopting resolution 1578 (2004), the Council also called upon the parties concerned to implement immediately its resolution 338 of October 1973. By 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 the 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/2004/47) Council President Abdallah Baali (Algeria) said that the Councils view had been reflected in the Secretary-Generals latest report on UNDOF (document S/2004/948), 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 full text of resolution 1578 (2004) reads as follows:
The Security Council,
Having considered the report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force of 7 December 2004 (S/2004/948), 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 2005;
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 complete text of presidential statement S/PRST/2004/47 reads as follows:
As is known, the report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (S/2004/948) 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.
In his report on the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) (document S/2004/948), the Secretary-General recommends that the Council extend the Forces mandate for a further six-month period, until 30 June 2005, noting that both the Governments of Syria and Israel have agreed to the proposed extension.
The situation in the Israel-Syria sector has remained generally quiet, the Secretary-General says. 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, UNDOF has continued to perform its functions effectively, with the cooperation of the parties.
The Secretary-General adds, however, 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 Secretary-General calls for determined efforts by all concerned to tackle the problem in all its aspects, with a view to arriving at a just and durable peace settlement, as called for by Council resolution 338 (1973).
Under the prevailing circumstances, UNDOFs presence in the area is essential, the Secretary-General states. Regarding a shortfall in funding to the Force, the Secretary-General notes that, at present, unpaid assessments amount to some $19.9 million, representing money owed to troop-contributing Member States. In that regard, he appeals to Member States to pay their assessments promptly and in full, and to clear all remaining arrears.
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