The Security Council today decided to extend the mandate of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) until 31 December, noting with concern that the situation in the Middle East was tense and was likely to remain so until a comprehensive settlement could be reached.
Unanimously adopting resolution 2294 (2016), the 15-member Council strongly condemned the continued fighting in the area of separation, and called upon the parties concerned to implement its resolution 338 (1973).
Stressing the need to abide by the terms of the 1974 Disengagement of Forces Agreement between Israel and Syria, the Council called on both sides to exercise maximum restraint and prevent any breaches of the ceasefire. It underlined that there should be no military activity in the area of separation, urging Member States to convey strongly to the Syrian armed opposition groups in UNDOF’s area of operation the need to halt all activities endangering United Nations peacekeepers on the ground.
The Council called on all groups other than UNDOF to abandon all its positions, as well as the Quneitra crossing point, and to return the peacekeepers’ vehicles, weapons and other equipment. It also called on all parties to cooperate fully with UNDOF operations, urging prompt reporting by the Secretary-General to the Council of any actions impeding the Force’s ability to fulfil its mandate.
Also by the text, the Council requested that the Secretary-General expedite preparations for the return of an UNDOF presence to Camp Faouar, conditions permitting.
Speaking after the vote, Gerard van Bohemen (New Zealand) said the deteriorating security situation had generated a sustained crisis that had seen several long-standing contributing countries withdraw from UNDOF. Recent security incidents had put its personnel in unacceptable situations of risk, with inadequate plans for rapid exit. Since the area of separation was a war zone, any return must only take place if the necessary security conditions were met, he emphasized. It was essential that the parties to the Disengagement Agreement play their part in enabling UNDOF’s return, including by facilitating the establishment of secure temporary crossing procedures and enabling the mission’s use of technology and equipment necessary for their safety. For its part, New Zealand had hosted a meeting for troop-contributing countries, the United Nations Secretariat and Security Council members as part of a “triangular consultations” initiative, he said, adding that his delegation had engaged bilaterally with a number of affected countries in the lead-up to the adoption of today’s resolution.
The meeting began at 10:08 a.m. and ended at 10:14 a.m.
The full text of resolution 2294 (2016) reads as follows:
“The Security Council,
“Noting with concern that the situation in the Middle East is tense and is likely to remain so, unless and until a comprehensive settlement covering all aspects of the Middle East problem can be reached,
“Having considered the report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) of 8 June 2016 (S/2016/520), and also reaffirming its resolution 1308 (2000) of 17 July 2000,
“Stressing that both parties must abide by the terms of the 1974 Disengagement of Forces Agreement between Israel and the Syrian Arab Republic and scrupulously observe the ceasefire,
“Concurring with the Secretary-General’s findings that the ongoing military activities conducted by any actor in the area of separation continue to have the potential to escalate tensions between Israel and the Syrian Arab Republic, jeopardize the ceasefire between the two countries, and pose a risk to the local civilian population and United Nations personnel on the ground,
“Expressing grave concern at all violations of the Disengagement of Forces Agreement,
“Stressing that there should be no military forces in the area of separation other than those of UNDOF,
“Strongly condemning the continued fighting in the area of separation, calling on all parties to the Syrian domestic conflict to cease military actions in the UNDOF area of operations and to respect international humanitarian law,
“Condemning the use of heavy weapons by both the Syrian Armed Forces and armed groups in the ongoing Syrian conflict in the area of separation, including the use of tanks by the Syrian Armed Forces and opposition during clashes,
“Echoing the Secretary-General’s call upon all parties to the Syrian domestic conflict to cease military actions throughout the country, including in the UNDOF area of operations,
“Reaffirming its readiness to consider listing individuals, groups, undertakings, and entities providing support to ISIL or to the Al-Nusra Front, including those who are financing, arming, planning, or recruiting for ISIL or the Al-Nusra Front and all other individuals, groups, undertakings, and entities associated with ISIL and Al‑Qaida under the ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida sanctions regime, including those participating in or otherwise supporting attacks against UN peacekeepers,
“Recognizing the necessity of efforts to flexibly adjust UNDOF’s posture on a temporary basis to minimize the security risk to UN personnel as UNDOF continues to implement its mandate, while emphasizing that the ultimate goal is for the peacekeepers to return to their positions in UNDOF’s area of operations as soon as practicable,
“Emphasizing the importance of Security Council and troop-contributing countries having access to reports and information related to UNDOF’s current temporary configuration, and reinforcing that such information assists the Security Council with evaluating, mandating, and reviewing UNDOF and with effective consultation with troop-contributing countries,
“Underscoring the need for UNDOF to have at its disposal all necessary means and resources to carry out its mandate safely and securely, including technology and equipment to enhance its observation of the area of separation and the ceasefire line, and to improve force protection, as appropriate, and recalling that the theft of United Nations weapons and ammunition, vehicles and other assets, and the looting and destruction of United Nations facilities, are unacceptable,
“Expressing its profound appreciation to UNDOF’s military and civilian personnel, including those from Observer Group Golan, for their service and continued contribution, in an increasingly challenging operating environment, underscoring the important contribution UNDOF’s continued presence makes to peace and security in the Middle East, welcoming steps taken to enhance the safety and security of UNDOF, including Observer Group Golan, personnel, and stressing the need for continued vigilance to ensure the safety and security of UNDOF and Observer Group Golan personnel,
“Strongly condemning incidents threatening the safety and security of United Nations personnel in recent months,
“Expressing its appreciation to UNDOF for the efforts made to upgrade and expand its positions on Mount Hermon, including the establishment of a new position,
“Taking note of the Secretary-General’s plan for UNDOF to return incrementally to vacated positions, starting with Camp Faouar on the Bravo side, conditions permitting, given improvements in security in the northern part of the area of separation.
“1. Calls upon the parties concerned to implement immediately its resolution 338 (1973) of 22 October 1973;
“2. Stresses the obligation on both parties to scrupulously and fully respect the terms of the 1974 Disengagement of Forces Agreement, calls on the parties to exercise maximum restraint and prevent any breaches of the ceasefire and the area of separation, encourages the parties to take advantage of UNDOF’s liaison function regularly to address issues of mutual concern, as appropriate, and underscores that there should be no military activity of any kind in the area of separation, including military operations by the Syrian Arab Armed Forces;
“3. Underlines that there should be no military activity of the armed opposition groups in the area of separation, and urges Member States to convey strongly to the Syrian armed opposition groups in UNDOF’s area of operations to halt all activities that endanger United Nations peacekeepers on the ground and to accord the United Nations personnel on the ground the freedom to carry out their mandate safely and securely;
“4. Calls on all groups other than UNDOF to abandon all UNDOF positions and the Quneitra crossing point, and return the peacekeepers’ vehicles, weapons, and other equipment;
“5. Calls on all parties to cooperate fully with and facilitate the operations of UNDOF, to respect its privileges and immunities and to ensure its freedom of movement, as well as the security of and unhindered and immediate access for the United Nations personnel carrying out their mandate, including the unimpeded delivery of UNDOF equipment and the temporary use of alternative ports of entry and departure, as required, to ensure safe and secure troop rotation and resupply activities, in conformity with existing agreements, and urges prompt reporting by the Secretary-General to the Security Council and troop-contributing countries of any actions that impede UNDOF’s ability to fulfil its mandate;
“6. Recognizes the need to put in place efficient and secure temporary procedures for UNDOF personnel crossing between the Alpha and Bravo sides in the absence of the established crossing at Quneitra, and in this regard, calls on the parties to constructively engage with UNDOF, with the understanding that the Quneitra crossing will be re-opened as soon as security conditions permit;
“7. Requests the Secretary-General to expedite preparations for the return of an UNDOF presence to Camp Faouar, conditions permitting;
“8. Welcomes continued efforts to plan for UNDOF’s expeditious return, including the provision of adequate force protection, to vacated positions in the Area of Separation, based on a continuous assessment of security in the area;
“9. Encourages the parties to the Disengagement Agreement to engage constructively to make the necessary temporary arrangements with UNDOF for the Force’s return to vacated positions, taking into account existing agreements;
“10. Welcomes the efforts being undertaken by the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force to implement the Secretary-General’s zero-tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse and to ensure full compliance of its personnel with the United Nations code of conduct, requests the Secretary-General to continue to take all necessary action in this regard and to keep the Security Council informed, and urges troop-contributing countries to take preventive and disciplinary action to ensure that such acts are properly investigated and punished in cases involving their personnel;
“11. Decides to renew the mandate of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force for a period of six months, that is, until 31 December 2016, and requests the Secretary-General to ensure that UNDOF has the required capacity and resources to fulfil the mandate in a safe and secure way;
“12. Requests the Secretary-General to report every 90 days on developments in the situation and the measures taken to implement resolution 338 (1973).”