Against the backdrop of simmering tensions in the Middle East, the UN Security Council on Wednesday extended through November the United Nations operation supervising the disengagement of Syrian and Israeli forces, said a statement.
The council took its action by a unanimous vote on the recommendation of Secretary General Kofi Annan, who said in a recent report that the continued presence of the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) remained essential, even though the situation in the Israeli-Syrian sector had been generally quiet, the UN news website said.
UNDOF was first deployed in 1974 following the agreed disengagement of the Israeli and Syrian forces on the Golan Heights.
The council also urged the parties to implement immediately its resolution 338 of 1973.
That text called for peace talks and reaffirmed the council's landmark resolution 242 of 1967, which required the withdrawal of Israeli forces from all occupied territories and an end to all claims of belligerency, as well as an acknowledgement of the right of all states in the region to live in peace.
Together, resolutions 242 and 338 are considered the basis for an overall settlement in the Middle East, said the new service.
Following the adoption of the resolution, the council president, Ambassador James Cunningham of the United States, read out a statement that cited Annan's conclusion that "the situation in the Middle East continues to be potentially dangerous and is likely to remain so unless and until a comprehensive settlement covering all aspects of the Middle East problem can be reached."
"That statement of the Secretary-General reflects the view of the Security Council," Cunningham said.
UNDOF is entirely deployed within and close to the area of separation, with two base camps, 44 permanently manned positions and 11 observation posts.
The headquarters of UNDOF is located at Camp Faouar and an office is maintained at Damascus.
In addition, the force operates patrols by day and night. The Austrian battalion, which includes a Slovak company, is deployed in the northern part of the area of separation, while the Polish battalion is deployed in the southern part. Its base camp is Camp Ziouani.
Mine clearance is conducted by both battalions under the operational control of UNDOF headquarters – Albawaba.com
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