9 March 2013 Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed the release of the 21 United Nations peacekeepers who had been detained last week in the Golan Heights.
On Wednesday, armed elements of the Syrian opposition detained a group of peacekeepers who are part of the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), which monitors the 1974 disengagement accord between Syria and Israel after their 1973 war.
Mr. Ban “appreciates the efforts of all concerned to secure their safe release,” said a statement issued by the Secretary-General's spokesperson.
He emphasized to all parties the impartiality of UN peacekeepers, and called on all parties to respect UNDOF's freedom of movement and the safety and security of its personnel.
He also called on them to respect and uphold the protection of civilians.
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