NEW YORK – In a four minute meeting on Wednesday, the UN Security Council extended the mandate of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) monitoring the ‘blue line’ between Israel and Syria until the end of December 2010.
The extension followed the recommendation last week of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. In a recent report to the Security Council, Ban advocated continuing the disengagement observer force, noting that the situation in the Middle East generally is “tense, and likely to remain so,” although the situation in the Golan Heights has been “generally quiet.”
In his report, Ban encouraged Israel and Syria to resume peace negotiations as soon as possible. A series of indirect talks between the two countries initiated by Turkey were discontinued in 2008. UNDOF has supervised the Israel-Syria ceasefire in the Golan Heights since 1974.
The proposed $47.9 million budget for maintaining UNDOF is now under consideration by the General Assembly. As of June 2010, UNDOF consists of over 1,000 troops from six countries, with the operation led by Major General Natalio Ecarma III of the Philippines.