Expressing concern that ongoing military activities have the potential to escalate tensions between Israel and Syria, the Security Council today decided to renew the mandate of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) for six months.
Unanimously adopting resolution 2503 (2019), the Council renewed UNDOF’s mandate until 30 June 2020, while stressing that there should be no military activity by armed opposition groups or by Syrian Armed Forces in the so-called “area of separation” defined in the 1974 Disengagement of Forces Agreement between Israel and Syria.
It urged Member States to convey strongly to Syrian armed opposition groups in UNDOF’s area of operations that the Force remains an impartial entity, to halt all activities that endanger United Nations peacekeepers and to accord the Organization’s personnel the freedom needed to carry out their mandate safely and securely.
The Council stressed the obligation of parties to the 1974 Agreement to fully respect its terms, calling on them to also comply with resolution 338 (1973), which obliges them to terminate all military activity.
Speaking after the vote, Fahad M.E.H.A. Mohammad (Kuwait) welcomed efforts made by UNDOF under extremely difficult conditions. He underlined that the Golan is Syrian territory occupied by Israel and annexation of the area violates Security Council resolutions and remains null and void. Resolution of the conflict does not lie in consolidating the status quo, but rather in ending the occupation, he added.
Dian Triansyah Djani (Indonesia) highlighted the safety and security of UNDOF peacekeepers, calling on all parties to respect the disengagement agreement, to exercise maximum restraint and to allow peacekeepers to carry out their duties. The Golan is Syrian territory and he called on all parties to respect the Charter of the United Nations in that regard.
Cherith Norman-Chalet (United States) said the Council should refrain from drawing any equivalence between Israeli defensive systems in the area — which have saved many lives — and Syrian violations. She affirmed that the United States remains committed to the 1974 Agreement and UNDOF’s mandate.
The meeting began at 10:41 a.m. and ended at 10:49 a.m.