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UN renews mandate for disengagement in Golan Heights

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Moses Kuwema

The UN Security Council, acting through its temporary silence procedure Friday amid the ongoing COVID‑19 pandemic, decided to renew for six months the mandate of its long‑standing disengagement mission in the Golan Heights.

Unanimously adopting resolution 2555 (2020), the 15-member Council extended until June 30, 2021 the mandate of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) — tasked with maintaining the ceasefire between Israeli and Syrian troops and supervising the “areas of separation of limitation” — while requesting the Secretary‑General to ensure that the Force has the required capacity and resources to fulfil its mandate in a safe and secure way.

By the terms of the resolution, the Council called upon the parties concerned to immediately implement its resolution 338 (1973) of 22 October 1973 and stressed their obligation to scrupulously and fully respect the terms of the 1974 Disengagement of Forces Agreement.  

It called on them to exercise maximum restraint and prevent any breaches of the ceasefire and the area of separation, while underlining the Force’s impartiality and encouraging the parties to take full advantage of its liaison functions.

The Council called on all groups other than UNDOF to abandon all UNDOF positions and return the peacekeepers’ vehicles, weapons, and other equipment; respect the Force’s privileges and immunities, and ensure its freedom of movement; and ensure the unimpeded delivery of equipment for the Force.  

It further called upon the parties to provide all the necessary support to allow for the full use of the Quneitra crossing by UNDOF — in line with established procedures — and to lift COVID‑19-related restrictions as soon as sanitary conditions permit.

By other terms of the text, Council members requested UNDOF — within existing capacities and resources — as well as Member States and other relevant parties, to take all appropriate steps to protect the safety, security and health of UNDOF personnel in line with resolution 2518 (2020), taking into account the impact of COVID‑19 pandemic.

Security Council resolutions are currently adopted through a written procedure vote under temporary, extraordinary and provisional measures implemented in response to the COVID‑19 pandemic, as set out in a letter (document S/2020/253) by its President for March (China).

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