Security Council                                            SC/6683

4009th Meeting (PM)                                         27 May 1999


             SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS DISENGAGEMENT OBSERVER FORCE


                        ON SYRIAN GOLAN UNTIL NOVEMBER


                  Unanimously Adopts Resolution 1243 (1999);

Presidential Statement Warns of Dangers until Comprehensive Settlement Reached


The Security Council this afternoon renewed the mandate of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) for a further six months, until 30 November.  The UNDOF was established in May 1974 to supervise the ceasefire called for by the Council and the Israeli-Syrian disengagement agreement.


As it unanimously adopted resolution 1243 (1999), the Council called upon the parties concerned to implement immediately its resolution 338 (1973) of 22 October 1973.  The Council asked the Secretary-General to report to it at the end of the extended mandate period on measures taken to implement that text.


Under resolution 338 (1973), the Council called for a ceasefire, the termination of all military activity and the immediate implementation of resolution 242 (1967).  By resolution 242, the Council called for a just and lasting peace which included the withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in 1967 and respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in secure and recognized boundaries.


Also, through a statement read out by its President, Denis Dangue Rewaka (Gabon), the Council recalled that the Secretary-General's report on UNDOF had stated that, despite the present quiet in the Israeli-Syrian sector, the situation in the Middle East continued to be potentially dangerous and was likely to remain so, until a comprehensive settlement of the Middle East problem could be reached.  That statement reflected the view of the Council.


The meeting, which began at 12:49 p.m., was adjourned at 12:53 p.m.


Resolution


The full text of resolution 1243 (1999) reads as follows:


"The Security Council,


"Having considered the report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force of 18 May 1999 (S/1999/575),


"Decides:


"(a)  To call upon the parties concerned to implement immediately its resolution 338 (1973) of 22 October 1973;


"(b) To renew the mandate of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force for another period of six months, that is, until 30 November 1999;


"(c) To request the Secretary-General to submit, at the end of this period, a report on the development in the situation and the measures taken to implement Security Council resolution 338 (1973)."


Statement


The full text of the accompanying presidential statement, to be issued as S/PRST/1999/15, reads as follows:


"As is known, the report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (S/1999/575) states, in paragraph 11:  'Despite the present quiet in the Israeli-Syrian sector, the situation in the Middle East continues to be potentially dangerous 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.'"


Report of Secretary-General


The Secretary-General's report (document S/1999/575) of 18 May gives an account of the activities of the UNDOF during the period from 15 November 1998 to 15 May, pursuant to the mandate contained in Council resolution 350 (1974).  Considering the continued presence of UNDOF in the area essential, the Secretary-General recommends that the Council extend the Force's mandate for a further period of six months, until 30 November.  The Governments of Syria and Israel have both agreed to the proposed extension.


The Force, which was established in May 1974 to supervise the ceasefire called for by the Council and the agreement on disengagement between Israeli and Syrian forces of 31 May 1974, has continued to perform its function effectively, with the cooperation of the parties, according to the report.  The situation in the Israeli‑Syrian sector has remained quiet, and there has been no serious incident.  However, despite the present quiet in the Israeli‑ Syrian sector, the situation in the Middle East continues to be potentially dangerous and is likely to remain so, unless and until a comprehensive settlement covering all aspects of the Middle East problem can be reached.


The proposed budget for the maintenance of the Force for the period from 1 July 1999 to 30 June 2000 is currently under consideration by the General Assembly, states the report.  Subject to the Assembly's decision, the cost of maintaining UNDOF, at its currently authorized strength, is estimated at

$33.2 million gross for the period of one year, plus an amount for the peacekeeping support account.  Therefore, should the Council decide to extend the mandate of the Force beyond 31 May, the cost of maintaining the Force will be limited to the amounts indicated above.


The report also draws attention to the serious shortfall in the funding of the Force.  At present, unpaid assessments amount to some $53.6 million.  This sum, far larger than the current annual budget of UNDOF, represents money owed to Member States that contribute the troops who make up the Force.  The Secretary-General appeals to all Member States to pay their assessments promptly and in full and to clear all remaining arrears.


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