News / Middle East

UN Renews Mandate of Peacekeepers on Golan Heights

A wide view of the United Nations Security Council (file photo)
A wide view of the United Nations Security Council (file photo)
Larry Freund

The U.N. Security Council has unanimously approved a resolution renewing the mandate for U.N. peacekeeping troops on the Golan Heights, between Syria and Israel. 

After several days of behind the scenes talks, the Security Council scheduled a formal meeting to consider a resolution renewing the mandate for six months of the U.N. Disengagement Observer Force, created in 1974 to maintain the ceasefire on the Golan Heights between Israel and Syria.  

Again, the council retreated behind closed doors for further talks before finally voting publicly and unanimously to extend the mandate for the peacekeepers.

The delay suggested the disagreement among the council’s five veto-wielding permanent members.  The United States, Britain and France have pressed for additional language in the resolution on the violence within Syria.  Russia and China rejected the idea, calling the situation in Syria an internal matter.  

Britain’s representative Philip Parham said Syria’s government has met legitimate demands for reform with brute force. “The situation in Syria is not sustainable," he said. "If we genuinely want to see an end to the violence, this council should send a clear message underlining our collective concern.”

Israeli troops patrol along the border between Israel and Syria near the village of Majdal Shams in the Golan Heights, June 6, 2011
Israeli troops patrol along the border between Israel and Syria near the village of Majdal Shams in the Golan Heights, June 6, 2011

In contrast, Russia’s representative, Alexander Pankin, told the Security Council the resolution it approved simply extended the mandate of the U.N. force.  He suggested that is as far as the council should go.

“The resolution adopted today, of which Russia was a co-sponsor, is technical in nature and does not have any relation to the developments in the political situation in Syria or Israel," said Pankin. "Syria is not on the agenda of the Security Council because it is not a threat to international peace and security.”

For his part, Syria’s representative was critical of countries that he said had attempted to force the Security Council into issues that are none of its business.

Speaking for the United States, ambassador Rosemary DiCarlo was sharply critical of Syria’s government for brutally repressing the Syrian people.

“The Syrian people have shown their courage in demanding a transition to democracy," said DiCarlo. "The Syrian government must stop shooting demonstrators and allow peaceful protest.  It must release political prisoners and stop unjust arrest and torture.”

The resolution adopted by the Security Council expresses grave concern at what it calls the “serious events” on May 15 and June 5 that its says put the long-held ceasefire in jeopardy.  Palestinian demonstrators had tried to break through the ceasefire line and were confronted by Israeli troops.

The resolution calls for the parties to exercise maximum restraint and prevent any breaches of the ceasefire.

You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs