UN Syria-Israel mission extended

23 December 2003
The UN Security Council voted in favor of extending the mandate of the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) on 22 December, which oversees the tentative ceasefire in the occupied Golan Heights region on the Israeli-Syrian border. The mission's mandate had been scheduled to end on 31 December 2003, but was extended until 30 June 2004. The Council called on UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to submit a report at the end of June 2004 on 'the developments in the situation and the measures taken to implement resolution 338'. Council members also called for Syria and Israel to immediately and fully implement UN resolutions 242 of 1967, which 'affirmed that fulfillment of Charter principles included withdrawal of Israel's armed forces from territories occupied in the conflict and respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area,' and 338 of 1973, which said: 'Negotiations shall start between the parties concerned under appropriate auspices aimed at establishing a just and durable peace in the Middle East,'

The UNDOF has supervised the ceasefire between Israel and Syria since 1974. Annan said on 9 December that the UNDOF's role was vital to the region as 'the situation in the Middle East is very tense and is likely to remain so, unless and until a comprehensive settlement covering all aspects of the Middle East problem can be reached'.

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