The Security Council today renewed the mandate of the United Nations peacekeeping operation that monitors the ceasefire between Israeli and Syrian forces in the Golan region for an additional six months ending on 31 December.
Unanimously adopting resolution 2361 (2017) on the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), the 15-nation Council urged Member States to convey strongly to the Syrian armed opposition groups in the Force’s area of operations to halt all activities endangering United Nations peacekeepers on the ground.
The Council called on all such groups to abandon UNDOF positions including the Quneitra crossing point and to return peacekeepers’ vehicles, weapons and other equipment. In the absence of the Quneitra crossing, it commended the establishment of a new temporary crossing point for UNDOF personnel for contingency situations.
The Secretary-General, in his latest report on UNDOF (document S/2017/486), expressed concern over recent escalation of military activity across the ceasefire line. He encouraged the Security Council to support efforts to sensitize the parties and regional stakeholders to the risks of such escalation and the need to preserve the long-standing ceasefire.
The meeting began at 9:35 a.m. and ended at 9:38 a.m.
The full text of resolution 2361 (2017) 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 2017 (document S/2017/486) 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 Syria 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 Syria, 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 the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as Da’esh) or to Al-Nusra Front, including those who are financing, arming, planning, or recruiting for ISIL or Al-Nusra Front and all other individuals, groups, undertakings, and entities associated with ISIL and Al-Qaida, as listed on the ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions List, including those participating in or otherwise supporting attacks against UNDOF peacekeepers,
“Recognizing the necessity of efforts to flexibly adjust UNDOF’s posture on a temporary basis to minimize the security risk to UNDOF 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 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,
“Expressing its appreciation to UNDOF, including Observer Group Golan, for the efforts made to upgrade and expand its positions on Mount Hermon, including the establishment of new positions,
“Taking note of the Secretary-General’s plan for UNDOF to return to vacated positions, starting with Camp Faouar on the Bravo side, based on a continuous assessment of security in the area of separation and its surroundings, and continued discussion and coordination with the parties,
“Recalls that UNDOF’s deployment and the 1974 Disengagement of Forces Agreement are steps towards a just and durable peace on the basis of Security Council resolution 338 (1973),
“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 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. Commends the establishment of a new temporary crossing point for UNDOF personnel between the Alpha and Bravo sides for contingency situations, 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. Welcomes the return of an initial UNDOF contingent to Camp Faouar, as well as the cooperation of the parties to facilitate this return, together with continued efforts to plan for UNDOF’s expeditious return to vacated positions in the area of separation, including the provision of adequate force protection, based on a continuous assessment of security in the area;
“8. Underscores the importance of deploying appropriate technology, including counter-improvised-explosive-device capabilities and a sense and warn system, to ensure the safety and security of UNDOF personnel and equipment, following appropriate consultations with the parties, and urges the Secretary-General to accelerate the development of proposals for such technologies;
“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 UNDOF 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 UNDOF for a period of six months, that is, until 31 December 2017, 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).”