3 December 2010Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has recommended that the United Nations force monitoring the ceasefire between Israel and Syria on the Golan Heights be extended for another six months and called on the parties to restart peace talks. “Since the discontinuation in December 2008 of indirect peace talks, there have been no negotiations between the parties,” Mr. Ban writes in his latest report on the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF). “I encourage the parties to resume peace negotiations as soon as possible,” he adds. UNDOF was established by the Security Council in May 1974 to supervise the ceasefire between Israel and Syria on the Golan Heights and the agreement on disengagement between their respective forces. Mr. Ban notes that the situation has remained “generally quiet” in the Israel-Syria sector. “Nevertheless, the situation in the Middle East is tense and is likely to remain so, unless and until a comprehensive settlement covering all aspects of the Middle East problem can be reached.“I hope that determined efforts will be made by all concerned to tackle the problem in all its aspects, with a view to arriving at a just and durable peace settlement,” he states. Under the prevailing circumstances, he says the continued presence of UNDOF in the area is essential and recommends that the Council extend the mandate of the Force until 30 June 2011
The MPs also said that Sri Lanka should take urgent steps for implementation of LLRC recommendations with clear time bound programme.“The Sri Lanka government should send message to the world that normalcy is restored by replacing Army by Police,” the MPs said. The MPs also suggested that Indian universities can have an understanding with institutions in these areas for higher studies. (PTI) They also said that displaced Tamil civilians and refugees in India should be enabled to get back their houses and lands left in Sri Lanka by sending a team of survey and settlement officials from India and identifying the properties and pushing for claim from the concerned refugees.“Fertile lands and fishermen villages of the north and east were taken away by the Military as ‘Security Zone.’ This should be handed over to owners and allow them to economically develop the country,” the letter said.The MPs also recommended establishment of centres for rehabilitation of widows, mentally challenged children and differently-abled persons and children. “The political empowerment through implementation of 13th Amendment of the Constitution of Sri Lanka made on Rajiv Gandhi’s effort, by holding talks with TNA and other Tamil political parties are in urgency to create the confidence of the Tamils to return to motherland,” they said in the letter. The 13th Amendment of the Sri Lankan Constitution envisages devolution of powers to Tamil-dominated northern and eastern provinces. “India’s human resources department should send teachers for English, Science and Mathematics for schools with the cooperation of Tamil Nadu government as Tamil knowing teachers are needed,” they said. Rajya Sabha member EM Sudarshana Natchiappan, Lok Sabha members M Krishnasamy, NSV Chithan and Manicka Tagore made these demands in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after they returned last week. Congress MPs, who were part of the delegation that visited Sri Lanka recently, have demanded India’s intervention in ensuring political empowerment of minority Tamils by implementing the historic 13th Amendment, holding talks with various political parties there.Four Congress MPs from Tamil Nadu also asked India to demand urgent steps from Sri Lanka to implement recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) with a “clear time-bound programme”.