United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF): Security Council Press Statement
The following Security Council press statement was issued today by Council President Vitaly Churkin (Russian Federation):
The members of the Security Council received a briefing on 26 March 2013 from Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Hervé Ladsous, which outlined the security risks and operational challenges facing the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), including the united Nations Truce Supervision Organization’s (UNTSO) Observer Group Golan, due to the ongoing fighting in the Force’s area of operation by the parties to the Syrian domestic conflict. The members of the Security Council expressed grave concern at all violations of the Disengagement of Forces Agreement. In this regard, the members of the Security Council expressed grave concern at the presence of the Syrian Arab Republic Armed Forces inside the area of separation. Furthermore, the members of the Security Council expressed grave concern at the presence of armed members of the opposition in the area of separation.
The members of the Security Council expressed their deep concern at the risk that all military activities in the area of separation conducted by any actor pose to the long-held ceasefire and the local population. The members of the Security Council also underscored the increased risk the situation poses to United Nations personnel on the ground, as highlighted in particular by the detention of the 21 UNDOF military personnel by armed elements of the Syrian opposition, the firing directed at United Nations personnel and facilities, and the carjacking of United Nations vehicles.
The members of the Security Council called on all parties, including armed elements of the Syrian opposition, to respect UNDOF’s freedom of movement and the safety and security of its personnel, while recalling that the primary responsibility for safety and security on the Bravo side rests with the Syrian Government. The members of the Security Council called upon the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic to respect UNDOF’s privileges and immunities, and to ensure the security of and unhindered and immediate access for United Nations personnel carrying out their mandate.
The members of the Security Council reaffirmed their unconditional support for UNDOF and expressed their deep gratitude to UNDOF personnel and to troop-contributing countries. The members of the Security Council recalled their request in resolution 2084 (2012) for the Secretary-General to ensure the Force has the capacity necessary to fulfil the mandate. The members of the Security Council welcomed the provision of additional security upgrades and equipment to UNDOF and the additional steps taken to reduce the risks to UNDOF personnel, and they reiterated the need to continue enhancing the safety and security of UNDOF personnel in response to new threats. To this end, the members of the Security Council called on all parties to ensure safe and secure rotation activities of UNDOF, including through considering the temporary use of an alternative port of entry and departure, as required.