SecGen on withdrawal of Austrian troops from UNDOF – Spokesman statement – Press release

Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

on the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF)

The Secretary-General learned today of Austria’s decision to withdraw its troops from UNDOF.  He regrets Austria's decision to withdraw, which follows a longstanding and valuable contribution to UNDOF.  The Secretary-General calls on all parties to ensure that the announced Austrian withdrawal takes place in an orderly manner. The Secretary-General is approaching Member States in an effort to identify urgently new contributors or additional contributions to UNDOF.

The Secretary-General reminds all actors in Syria that UNDOF is mandated to monitor the Disengagement of Forces Agreement between Israel and the Syrian Arab Republic. The continued presence of UNDOF in the area is essential.

The Secretary-General is very grateful to those countries who are continuing to provide troops and military observers to UNDOF. He calls on all parties to respect UNDOF’s freedom of movement and safety and security.

The Secretary-General condemns the attack which led to injuries suffered by two UNDOF peacekeepers today. The Secretary-General underlines that any military activity in the area of separation have the potential to escalate tensions between Israel and the Syrian Arab Republic and to jeopardize the long-held ceasefire between the two countries.

The Secretary-General stresses once again that all concerned in the region must abide by international law and relevant Security Council resolutions, and calls on all to work for de-escalation of violence. He urges parties to strictly respect the disengagement agreement, to stop fighting in the area of separation and to refrain from any violation of the disengagement line.

The crisis in Syria is having an increasingly destabilizing impact beyond its borders.  The Secretary-General is gravely concerned about the growing regional ramifications of the conflict.  He calls on all parties to move swiftly toward a political solution that is the only way to end the violence and the terrible suffering of the Syrian people.

New York

6 June 2013


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