Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York
SECURITY COUNCIL CONFRONTS AMBITIOUS AGENDA IN 2006, BROKERING CEASEFIRES,
EASING DIFFICULT TRANSITIONS, BLUNTING RELAPSES INTO CONFLICT
Major Concerns Addressed Include War in Lebanon, Arab-Israeli
Conflict , Sudan, Nuclear Non-Proliferation, Iraq, Afghanistan, Terrorism
In the face of complex and interrelated threats that spanned the globe and crisscrossed national and regional borders, the United Nations Security Council confronted an ambitious agenda in 2006 by brokering cessations of hostilities, easing difficult transitions and blunting relapses into conflict.
The Council convened 224 formal meetings, adopting 87 resolutions and issuing 59 presidential statements. The veto was used twice by the United States concerning the Middle East on the question of Palestine. Also, in a special meeting on 22 December, the Council paid tribute to Secretary-General Kofi Annan who stepped down at the end of the year after a decade at the helm of the world body.
Throughout the year, the Council wrestled with a wide range of political processes, perhaps none more intractable than the Middle East, as war engulfed Lebanon and the painful stalemate persisted over the question of Palestine. The 15-member world body was crucial in ending the fighting between Lebanon and Israel and it responded firmly to the nuclear proliferation questions posed by Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. It worked tirelessly to bring peace to Darfur, boosted African Union efforts to quell the crisis in Côte d’Ivoire, and supported the first free elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 40 years.
The second half of the year again saw part of the Middle East descend into crisis and confrontation. The 34-day war between Israel and Lebanon — prompted by the kidnapping on 12 July of two Israeli soldiers by Hizbollah fighters across the Blue Line and their indiscriminate bomb attacks into Israel — destabilized the already tense border area and threatened to engulf the entire region. Following a decision by the Lebanese Government on 7 August to deploy a Lebanese armed force of 15,000 troops in South Lebanon as the Israeli army withdrew behind the Blue Line, the Council acted in concert on 11 August to request the assistance of additional forces from the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), and to call for a full cessation of hostilities and permanent ceasefire.
The political climate remained tense in Lebanon and the wider region, and Lebanon faced monumental challenges. Still, in the immediate aftermath of the war, there was some optimism that the settlement of the conflict could push the parties in the region towards reviving the stalled Middle East peace process, particularly on the question of Palestine.
During a high-level meeting of the Security Council on 21 September, in the margins of the General Assembly’s debate, suggestions were made, including by the Arab League, that the Council could initiate negotiations between the parties, relaunch the peace process, reinvigorate the Road Map and even devise a new mechanism for implementing it. In the remaining months of the year, however, renewed violence in Gaza and internal rivalry among Palestinian factions dimmed hopes for such a renewal.
Tensions were near the breaking point in the region, Secretary-General Annan told the Council on 12 December, with extremism and populism leaving less political space for moderates. Welcome moves towards democracy, such as elections, had simultaneously posed a quandary in bringing to power parties, individuals and movements that opposed the basis of current peacemaking approaches. The opportunity for negotiating a two-State solution would last for only so long. “Should we fail to seize it, the people who most directly bear the brunt of this calamity will be consigned to new depths of suffering and grief. Other conflicts and problems will become that much harder to resolve, and extremists the world over would enjoy a boost to their recruiting efforts,” he said, urging the Council to develop a new understanding of the uncertainty engulfing the Middle East and shoulder its full responsibility to resolve it and stabilize the region.
The Middle East had shaped the Organization like no other, he added. The Arab-Israeli conflict was not just one regional conflict among many; no other conflict carried such a powerful symbolic and emotional charge, even for people far away. While the quest for peace in the Middle East had registered some important achievements over the years, a final settlement had defied the best efforts of several generations of world leaders, and he told the Council that he too would leave office without an end to the prolonged agony, with the situation more complex, more fragile and more dangerous than it had been for a very long time.
For further information on action taken by the Council, please visit http://www.un.org/Docs/sc/.
Following are summaries of major actions taken by the Council in 2006:
Capping the Council’s consideration of the situation in the Middle East on 12 December, Secretary-General Kofi Annan reported that the region was “near the breaking point”. A final settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict had defied the best efforts of several generations of world leaders, and he would also be leaving office without an end to the prolonged agony.
Warning that the region was in profound crisis, Mr. Annan said that mistrust between Israelis and Palestinians had reached new heights. The Gaza Strip had become a “cauldron of deepening poverty and frustration”, and the overall situation was more complex, more fragile and more dangerous than it had been for a very long time. He addressed “frank messages” to both sides, and cautioned that the opportunity for negotiating a two-State solution would last for only so long.
The meeting culminated in the adoption of a presidential statement reaffirming the Council’s profound attachment to the vision of two democratic States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security.
Earlier, at a ministerial-level meeting of the Council held on 21 September in the margins of the General Assembly’s annual debate, the Secretary-General had warned that the continued failure to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict called into question the legitimacy and effectiveness of the Council itself. The past summer had been a reminder of how dangerous it was to leave the conflict unresolved, and how interconnected the region’s problems were. Large majorities on either side desired peace; what they desperately needed was a bridge to peace wide enough to accommodate all who had a legitimate stake in the process, long enough to span the enormous gulf of mistrust that separated the parties and strong enough to withstand the inevitable efforts to sabotage it, he had stated.
Consideration of the situation in the Middle East, including the question of Palestine, began in 2006 with some dramatic developments in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s significant stroke on 4 January and the victory on 25 January by Hamas in the Palestinian Legislative Council elections (Hamas had won a majority of 74 seats and the Fatah, 45 seats, with the remaining 13 going to smaller parties and independents).
Briefing the Council on 31 January, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Angela Kane, said that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas had indicated his eagerness to begin consultation on the establishment of a new Government, while Hamas leaders had expressed their wish for change and reform.
On 3 February, in a presidential statement, the Council congratulated the Palestinian people on a free, fair, and secure electoral process, and expressed its view that all members of a future Palestinian Government must be committed to the Road Map, previous agreements and obligations between the parties to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and a negotiated two-State solution.
United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and the Secretary-General’s Special Representative to the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority, Alvaro de Soto, told the Council in a briefing on 28 February that the collapse or sacrifice of the Palestinian Authority could end all hopes of achieving a Palestinian State in a reasonable time frame. He described a functioning Authority as an essential building block for a Palestinian State, and emphasized the vital need for a “credible political horizon” for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Peace could not be imposed unilaterally or achieved durably outside the regional framework of the regional Middle East peace process, he said.
Briefing on 30 March, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Tuliameni Kalomoh, reported on the major political developments, including the establishment of a new Palestinian Government, the conduct of a general election in Israel, and the beginning of an important national dialogue in Lebanon.
In the wake of mounting violence that included a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv on 17 April and the Council’s failure to agree on a presidential statement on that situation the previous week, the Council held an open debate on 17 April. Many of the 30 speakers expressed alarm at the recent violent escalation and urged Israel and the Palestinian Authority to exercise restraint and do their utmost to curb attacks and counter-attacks that could undermine a return to the peace process.
Briefing the Council a few days later, on 24 April, Mr. de Soto said that stabilizing the security environment in the Occupied Palestinian Territory was a major challenge, the primary responsibility for which lay with the parties concerned. The responsible authorities must take firm measures to prevent terrorist and rocket attacks against Israel, end the long-running jockeying among the Palestinian security services, and immediately institute closer coordination. The Israeli side should respond proportionately, in a way that did not endanger the civilian population. Both parties must abide by the principles of international law and avoid actions that put the peace process at risk. He also noted the presence of a still unresolved struggle between President Abbas and the new Government, in developments that made for a “potentially dangerous brew”.
The following month, on 24 May, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Ibrahim Gambari, told the Council that the takeover by Hamas of the Palestinian Authority, inter-factional tensions in Gaza and the new Israeli Government had produced a new set of challenges and opportunities for the international community, including a serious humanitarian situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Among the areas of concern were the continued closure of the Karni crossing between Israel and Gaza and the withholding for three months of the salaries of some 155,000 Palestinian public sector workers.
Increasing volatility and violence characterized the month-long reporting period that followed. Israel had stepped up its policy of targeted killings of militants and shelling of areas in Gaza, and its ground troops had entered the Gaza Strip for the first time since Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza, killing five Palestinians. The United Nations, in that reporting period, had recorded 176 rockets fired by Palestinian militants from Gaza towards Israeli territory, some hitting Israeli towns and cities, injuring five civilians and damaging private and Government property, including a school. For the first time in well over a year, Hamas had claimed responsibility for rockets launched at Israel.
Addressing the Council again on 21 June, Mr. Gambari urged the cessation of all acts of violence. He also reported infighting between Hamas and Fatah. Deadly clashes and factional tensions since Hamas won the election in January had led by June to the killing of local leaders and claimed the lives of many bystanders, including women and children. Several violent protests had also taken place in Gaza and the West Bank involving rival factions and civil servants angry at not receiving salary payments. With efforts under way to broker a compromise on power-sharing, the Under-Secretary-General encouraged all Palestinian parties to “leave no stone unturned” in ensuring the harmonious and coherent operation of security forces, and to achieve consensus on a political programme that responded to the Palestinian peoples’ desire for a peacefully negotiated two-State solution.
During a Council meeting on 30 June at the request of Qatar and the Arab League to consider the growing crisis, which involved a Palestinian militant attack that led to the abduction of a member of the Israel Defense Forces, Corporal Gilad Shalit, and the subsequent Israeli military incursions into Gaza, Ms. Kane urged both parties to “step back from the brink” and give dialogue a chance, in order to avert a full-scale confrontation that would only lock the parties in deeper and deadlier conflict. The slightest turn of events could easily set off another full-scale conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, she warned.
On 13 July, the United States vetoed a draft resolution that would have demanded that Israel halt its two-week military offensive in the Gaza Strip. Ten Council members voted in favour of the text and four abstained ( Denmark, Peru, Slovakia, United Kingdom). The resolution, sponsored by Qatar, an elected member, would have condemned Israel’s current “military assault” in Gaza and called on the Palestinian authority to take immediate action to bring an end to violence, including the firing of rockets on Israeli territory.
Warning the Council on 19 October that, as a “deadly crisis” continued in Gaza, it was urgent to help restart dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians and reconcile Palestinian parties, Mr. de Soto briefed on the situation. He said that the “virtual siege” of Gaza was devastating the lives of ordinary Palestinians, stifling hope and fomenting despair, while the continued dangerous launching of rockets at Israeli population centres, such as at Sderot, was a source of deep distress for ordinary Israelis. Regarding the Palestinian political crisis, he could offer no simple quick fix; a National Unity Government was the only way to stem the slide into anarchy. That required international support, which reflected the principles of the Middle East diplomatic Quartet ( United Nations, United States, European Union and the Russian Federation).
During a day-long meeting on 9 November, called jointly by the Arab League, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the Non-Aligned Movement in light of intensifying Israeli military operations in Gaza fuelled the previous day by the deaths of at least 18 civilians in Beit Hanoun, more than 40 speakers expressed grave concern at the mounting humanitarian toll, with many demanding an immediate ceasefire and deployment of United Nations observers.
On 11 November, the Council again failed to adopt a draft resolution on the Middle East, owing to a negative vote by the United States. The text would have condemned Israeli military operations in Gaza, killing civilians, as well as Palestinian rocket fire into Israel. It would have called for an immediate withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Gaza Strip and a cessation of violence by both parties. The resolution would also have asked the Secretary-General to establish a fact-finding mission on the 8 November incident in Beit Hanoun.
As Israel’s military operation in Gaza entered its six month, Mr. Gambari reported to the Council on 21 November. “We have seen another month of violence in the Middle East — one that for the tragedy of Beit Hanoun will almost certainly be remembered as a dark hour in this very long conflict.” He said that, during the past month, 128 Palestinians and one Israeli had been killed, with over 380 Palestinians injured. The escalation of violence had been alarming and the November events had highlighted the fact that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict could not be resolved through force.
The Security Council first became engaged in Lebanon in 1978, three years after the start of its tragic and bloody 15-year civil war, which resulted in the deaths of an estimated 120,000 people and the deployment of foreign troops on and off throughout the period from nearly a dozen countries, at the request of the Lebanese Government, to help end the fighting.
The Council’s involvement in 2006 was on three main tracks. The first concerned implementation of resolution 1559 (2004), which had called for the withdrawal of all remaining foreign forces from the country. The second concerned the investigation into the killing of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, and the third was the 34-day war with Israel, triggered by the kidnapping on 12 July of two Israeli soldiers by Hizbollah fighters across the Blue Line and their indiscriminate bomb attacks against Israel.
Acting unanimously, the Council also extended the mandate of the 28-year-old United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), first on 31 January until 31 July, by resolution 1655, and again, in the setting of the conflict between Israel and Hizbollah, on 31 July, for one month, until 31 August, passing resolution 1697. On 11 August, the Council adopted resolution 1701, calling for a cessation of hostilities and further extending the UNIFIL’s mandate until the end of August 2007 and increasing the mission’s troop strength, from 2,000 to up to 15,000.
When the Secretary-General first reported on implementation of resolution 1559 in July 2004, he said, “It is time, 14 years after the end of hostilities and four years after the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon, for all parties concerned to set aside the remaining vestiges of the past. The withdrawal of foreign forces and the disbandment and disarmament of militias would, with finality, end that sad chapter of Lebanese history” (document S/2004/572), referring, of course, to the civil war.
Syria first deployed troops in Lebanon in May 1976, at the request of Lebanese President Suleiman Franjieh. By the end of 2004 about 14,000 Syrian troops remained in Lebanon, although, the Lebanese Government informed the Secretary-General that the “current fragile security situation in the region, and its concern regarding potential risks to Lebanon’s domestic stability, render it difficult to establish a timetable for the full withdrawal of Syrian forces”.
On 23 January 2006, the Council, in a presidential statement, noted significant progress in Lebanon towards implementation of resolution 1559 (2004), particularly the withdrawal of Syrian forces and the holding of parliamentary elections in 2005, but it regretted that other provisions of that text, mainly the disarming of Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias, had yet to be implemented. At the same time, the Council condemned the continued terrorist attacks in Lebanon, which it called part of a deliberate strategy to destabilize the country and intimidate the Lebanese people, their Government and the media.
Addressing the Council on 21 April, Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora said that, after many years of civil strife, Israeli occupation and Syrian presence, the great historic transition that the Lebanese people had begun a year earlier was not yet complete, but important strides had been made on the road towards self-governance, stability, democracy and increased prosperity.
In a presidential statement on 30 October, the Council noted important progress in the extension of the Lebanese Government’s authority throughout the country, but reiterated its call for the disbanding of militias and strict respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity and political independence of the country, along with all other unmet provisions of its resolution 1559 (2004). The Council regretted that such provisions, which also required free and fair presidential elections conducted according to Lebanese Constitutional rules without foreign interference, had yet to be implemented.
On 12 December, the Council, in another presidential statement, reiterated its full support for the legitimate and democratically elected Lebanese Government, and condemned any effort to destabilize the country. It called on all Lebanese political parties to show responsibility, with a view to preventing, through dialogue, further deterioration of the situation in that country.
Also by that statement, the Council reiterated deep concern at the latest reports, though unverified, of illegal movements of arms into Lebanon, but welcomed initial steps by the Government, notably the deployment of 8,000 troops along the border, to prevent such arms movements. It again called on Syria to take similar measures to reinforce border controls.
On 16 March, Serge Brammertz, the head investigator into the February 2005 killing of former Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri and 22 others, who had assumed his responsibilities on 19 January, updated the Council on progress in the probe.
Through the unanimous adoption of resolution 1664 (2006) on 29 March, the Council requested the Secretary-General to negotiate an agreement with the Lebanese Government aimed at establishing a tribunal of an international character to try those found responsible for the killing of Mr. Hariri and 22 others.
“The crime must be considered a targeted assassination,” Mr. Brammertz told the Council in a further briefing on 14 June, citing critical forensic evidence that pointed to an above-ground explosion on 14 February 2005, a large, improvised explosive device placed in a Mitsubishi truck and detonated as the Hariri convoy passed by. However, the investigative Commission said the evidence did not support the claim of responsibility for the attack by Ahmed Abu Adass. The probe was developing a hypothesis regarding those who had commissioned the crime.
On 15 June, the Council, through the unanimous adoption of resolution 1686, extended the investigative Commission’s mandate until mid-June 2007.
Mr. Brammertz told the Council on 29 September that, despite the war in Lebanon, progress had been made in the investigation over the last three months and 20 major investigation and analysis projects were ongoing, focusing on consolidating the results of the forensic examination of the crime scene.
On 21 November, the Council issued a presidential statement unequivocally condemning the assassination in Beirut of Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel. It also condemned any attempt to destabilize Lebanon through political assassination or other terrorist acts, and expressed grave concern at the assassination and its possible impact on efforts to solidify democracy, extend Government authority throughout its territory and complete the reconstruction process.
Briefing the Council on the investigation for the last time in 2006 on 18 December, Mr. Brammertz said that the Commission had reached a critical stage in its work, although the political climate in Lebanon had been volatile during the reporting period. Progress had been made in two key areas, namely, developing crime scene evidence and investigating potential perpetrators. It could now confirm, among other things, that there had been only one blast, with an RDX-based high explosive, and the Mitsubishi van had been the carrier of the improvised explosive device. It was also likely that a person triggered the explosion from within or immediately in front of the van, rather than via a remote-controlled device.
In addition, he said that the Commission continued to collect information about the increasing threats and pressure on Mr. Hariri during the last 15 months of his life, an analysis of which had revealed several potential motives to kill him. The majority were, in one way or another, linked to his political activities. At this stage of the investigation, a smaller number of motives had emerged as the most plausible. The Commission cooperated closely with the Lebanese authorities, and he characterized cooperation with Syria as “generally satisfactory”.
In an urgent meeting of the Council on 14 July to discuss the intensifying violence between Israel and Hizbollah in Lebanon, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs called on all sides in the worsening conflict to show restraint and allow diplomacy to work, warning that a window of opportunity was “quickly closing”. In the meeting requested by Lebanon, Ibrahim Gambari expressed “deep alarm” at the spiral of violence sparked by the kidnapping of the two Israeli soldiers. Parts of Lebanon were now under blockade and heavy Israeli military action, while Israel was being subjected to indiscriminate bomb attacks by Hizbollah, he reported.
On 20 July, with the bloody conflict engulfing Lebanon and northern Israel, the Secretary-General, addressing the Council, called for an immediate cessation of hostilities to prevent further loss of innocent life, allow full humanitarian access to those in need and to give diplomacy a chance to work. He urged the Council to “speak with one voice in the coming days”.
Reporting on UNIFIL’s operation on 21 July (document S/2006/560), the Secretary-General said that the hostilities between Hizbollah and Israel since 12 July had “radically changed” the context in which UNIFIL, whose mandate was due to expire on 31 July, was operating. In the current environment, circumstances conducive to United Nations peacekeeping “do not exist”. He reported on Lebanon’s request to extend UNIFIL’s mandate for a further six months, yet, given his view that a return to the status quo ante did not appear feasible, he recommended an extension of just one month, in order to give the Council time to consider all possible options for future arrangements with respect to south Lebanon.
Also on 21 July, in a briefing to the Council on a senior-level mission to the region, the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General, Vijay Nambiar, said it had become clear that there were serious obstacles to achieving a comprehensive ceasefire in the immediate future. He said a political package that would pave the way for a full and durable ceasefire should include the end of the Hizbollah threat against Israel and full respect by all Lebanese parties and all Lebanon’s neighbours for the Lebanese Government’s sovereignty and control.
Mr. Nambiar further reported that Lebanon’s leadership had expressed pain and frustration over the scope of Israel’s military actions, incredulous that Israel would carry out actions, which would, in the long run, inevitably help Hizbollah. Israel’s leadership had stressed Hizbollah’s responsibility for initiating the conflict, making clear Israel’s decision to continue its military activities until Hizbollah was seriously weakened. After that, Israel would welcome a political framework that ensured no return to the status quo ante and would facilitate implementation of resolution 1559 (2004), he said.
Following the firing by Israel Defence Forces on the United Nations observers post in southern Lebanon on 25 July, which caused the death of four peacekeepers, the Council, on 27 July, expressed deep shock and distress in a presidential statement, and called on the Government of Israel to conduct a comprehensive inquiry into the incident.
In an emergency meeting on 30 July, held in the wake of an Israeli air strike that had killed dozens of civilians in the southern Lebanese village of Qana, the Secretary-General called on the Council to condemn the attack in the strongest possible terms and to take immediate action to halt the spiralling violence between Israel and Hizbollah, “for the sake of the people of the region and of this Organization”.
That evening, in another meeting, the Council expressed “extreme shock and distress” at the shelling of a residential building in southern Lebanon, and called for an end to the violence, in a presidential statement in which the Council also vowed to begin work immediately on a resolution that would lead to a lasting settlement of the crisis.
The next day, on 31 July, the Council, having examined the Secretary-General’s report on UNIFIL, extended the mandate for one month until 31 August, through the unanimous adoption of resolution 1697 (2006). Also by that text, it expressed the deepest concern at the escalation of hostilities and urged all concerned parties to avoid actions that might endanger United Nations staff.
When the Council met again that day at Lebanon’s request, the Minister of Culture and Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs of Lebanon, Tarek Mitri, forcefully reiterated his Government’s call for an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire, as the necessary prelude to a political discussion. No political settlement could emerge amid the severe bombardment of Lebanon’s towns and villages, bridges and shelters. The onslaught, which had continued unabated, had to stop. He had come from Beirut to the Security Council bearing images of horror and hope — hope that no one would ever see what he had seen or heard.
Israel’s Ambassador, Daniel Gillerman, agreed that there should not be a return to the status quo ante, stressing that Lebanon should never again be the battleground of others. Israel had never had any claim over Lebanon, but had repeatedly been compelled to act, not against Lebanon, but against the “monster” that Lebanon had allowed to hold it hostage — by “tyrants in the north, namely Syria, who regarded northern Lebanon as southern Syria”. Lebanon, he said, had been taken hostage by terrorism of the worst kind — the Palestine Liberation Organization in the 1980s and Hizbollah in the 1990s.
Opening a fresh round of diplomatic talks to end the crisis, Arab League officials pressed the Council on 8 August to rework a draft resolution proposed by the United States and France to include a demand for a comprehensive ceasefire, and for Israel’s immediate withdrawal from Lebanon so that a proposed 15,000 Lebanese troops and a beefed-up United Nations peacekeeping force could be deployed in the war-ravaged south.
( France and the United States had presented a negotiated draft on Saturday, 5 August, calling for a “full cessation of hostilities” and saying Hizbollah must stop all attacks while Israel must halt all “offensive military operations”. It was designed to pave the way for a second resolution that would quickly authorize an international force for the Israel-Lebanon border and the creation of a buffer zone between the Blue Line and the Litani River (about 12 miles from Israel’s border) free of Hizbollah militants and Israeli troops. But, when the text met stiff resistance from Arab leaders, who said it disregarded critical Lebanese concerns in favour of Israel, the Council delayed a vote so that it could weigh the new proposal.)
Then, on 11 August, capping a week of intense talks on the French- and United States-negotiated text, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 1701 calling for a full cessation of hostilities in the month-long war between Israel and Hizbollah, and mapping out a formula for the phased withdrawal of the Israel Defense Forces from southern Lebanon, while up to 15,000 United Nations peacekeepers would help Lebanese troops take control of the area.
Briefing the Council on 22 August, Mr. Gambari said that the settlement of the month-long conflict could, with “prompt, concerted action”, push the parties in the region towards reviving the stalled Middle East peace process, particularly on the question of Palestine.
The Council twice renewed the mandate of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), which has supervised the ceasefire between Israel and Syria since 1974. On both occasions, first on 13 June and then on 15 December, the unanimously adopted resolutions extending the mandate for further six-month periods were accompanied by a presidential statement, in which the Council identified itself with the Secretary-General’s view that “… the situation is very tense and is likely to remain so, unless and until a comprehensive agreement covering all aspects of the Middle East problem can be reached”. The most recent extension would take the Force through 30 June 2007.
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For information media • not an official record
Document Type: French text, Press Release, Round-up
Document Sources: Department of Public Information (DPI), Secretary-General, Security Council
Subject: Casualties, Incidents, Incursions, Middle East situation, Palestine question, Peace process, Peace proposals and efforts, Situation in Lebanon, Situation in the OPT including Jerusalem, Statehood-related
Publication Date: 12/01/2007