Ban calls for resumption of IsraeliSyrian talks extension of UN force

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