Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Security Council draft resolution on UNDOF/ Syria/ Israel

This is the final draft resolution in the Security Council on the renewal of UNDOF mandate which is expected to be adopted on Wednesday, June 26th, 2013. It was proposed by the US and Russia.

Resolution xxxx (2013)

Adopted by the Security Council at its XXXX meeting, on  26 June 2013

The Security Council,
Noting with concern that 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,
Having considered the report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force of 12 June 2013 (S/2013/345), and also reaffirming its resolution 1308 (2000) of 17 July 2000,
Stressing that both parties must abide by the terms of the 1974 Disengagement of Forces Agreement between Israel and the Syrian Arab Republic and scrupulously observe the ceasefire,
Concurring with the Secretary-General’s findings  that the on-going military activities conducted by any actor in the area of separation continue to have the potential to escalate tensions between Israel and the Syrian Arab Republic, jeopardize the ceasefire between the two countries, and pose a risk to the local civilian population and UN personnel on the ground.
Expressing grave concern at all violations of the Disengagement of Forces Agreement,
Recalling that there should be no military forces in the area of separation other than those of UNDOF,
Calling on all parties to the Syrian domestic conflict to cease military actions in the UNDOF area of operation,
Strongly condemning the incidents threatening the safety and security of UN personnel in recent months, including the detention of 21 UNDOF peacekeepers within the area of limitation on 6 March by armed elements of the Syrian opposition, the detention of four UNDOF peacekeepers within the area of limitation in the vicinity of Al Jamla on 7 May by armed elements of the Syrian opposition, and the detention of three UNTSO observers on 15 May by a group of anti-government armed elements,.
Strongly condemning the recent intense fighting in the area of separation, including the attack which led to the injury of two UNDOF peacekeepers on 6 June,
Underscoring the need for UNDOF to have at its disposal all necessary means and resources to carry out its mandate safely and securely,
Expressing its profound appreciation to UNDOF’s military and civilian personnel, including those from Observer Group Golan, for their service and continued contribution, in an increasingly challenging operating environment, and underscoring the important contribution UNDOF’s continued presence makes to peace and security in the Middle East,
1. Calls upon the parties concerned to implement immediately its resolution 338 (1973) of 22 October 1973;
2. Stresses the obligation on both parties to scrupulously and fully respect the terms of the 1974 Disengagement of Forces Agreement, calls on the parties to exercise maximum restraint and prevent any breaches of the ceasefire and the area of separation, and underscores that there should be no military activity of any kind in the area of separation, including military operations by the Syrian Arab Armed Forces;
3. Underlines that there should be no military activity of the armed opposition groups in the area of separation, and urges Member States to convey strongly to the Syrian armed opposition groups in UNDOF’s area of operations to halt all activities that endanger United Nations peacekeepers on the ground and to accord the United Nations personnel on the ground the freedom to carry out their mandate safely and securely;
4. Calls on all parties to cooperate fully with the operations of UNDOF, to respect its privileges and immunities and to ensure its freedom of movement, as well as the security of and unhindered and immediate access for the United Nations personnel carrying out their mandate, including considering the temporary use of an alternative port of entry and departure, as required, to ensure safe and secure troop rotation activities, in conformity with existing agreements, and welcomes prompt reporting by the Secretary-General to the Security Council and troop contributing countries of any actions that impede UNDOF’s ability to fulfil its mandate;
5. Stresses the need to enhance the safety and security of UNDOF, including Observer Group Golan,  personnel, and endorses in this regard the Secretary-General’s recommendation to consider further adjustments to the posture and operations of the Mission, as well as to implement additional mitigation measures to enhance the self-defense capabilities of UNDOF, including maximizing the Force strength and improving its self-defense equipment, within the parameters set forth in the Protocol to the Disengagement Agreement;
6. Welcomes the efforts being undertaken by the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force to implement the Secretary-General’s zero-tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse and to ensure full compliance of its personnel with the United Nations code of conduct, requests the Secretary-General to continue to take all necessary action in this regard and to keep the Security Council informed, and urges troop-contributing countries to take preventive and disciplinary action to ensure that such acts are properly investigated and punished in cases involving their personnel;
7. Decides to renew the mandate of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force for a period of six months, that is, until 31 December 2013, and requests the Secretary-General to ensure that UNDOF has the required capacity and resources to fulfil the mandate, as well as to enhance the Force’s ability to do so in a safe and secure way; 
8. Requests the Secretary-General to report every 90 days on developments in the situation and the measures taken to implement resolution 338 (1973).
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Sunday, June 16, 2013

Russian non-paper on Geneva - 2 / Syria

Russia proposed this non-paper on June 5th, in the first preparatory meeting for Geneva 2 international conference on Syria, diplomats said.

Unofficial translation
International Conference on Facilitating a Political Settlement in Syria
The International Conference on Facilitating a Political Settlement in Syria (hereinafter the Conference) shall be convened in accordance with Russia US agreements reached in Moscow on May 7, 2013, on the basis of the Final Communiqué of the ministerial meeting of the Action Group for Syria held in Geneva on June 30, 2012.

Wendy Sherman (right), US Under Secretary of State, with members
of the Russian delegation, including Deputy Ministers for Foreign
Affairs Gennady Gatilov (second from left) and
Mikhail Bogdanov (third from left). 05 June 2013, Geneva, Switzerland.
The convening of the Conference is a result of firm conviction of its organizers and participants to respect and protect the principles of international law and the UN Charter, including, in particular, respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of States, non-interference in their internal affairs, refrain from threat or use of force against any of them and peaceful settlement of international disputes.
The purpose of the Conference is to provide international support to the representatives of the Syrian government and the opposition to allow them to jointly determine how they can fully implement the Geneva Communique of June 30, 2012, as an essential means of halting the bloodshed and addressing the humanitarian crisis in Syria, coordinating approaches to the problem of chemical Weapons security and preventing further destabilization in the region.
These provisions and principles could be reflected in the invitations to be sent to the participants of the International Conference on behalf of the UN Secretary General on the basis of the Russian-American agreements reached in Moscow on May 7, 2013.
The Conference shall be held under the UN auspices and be co-sponsored by Russia and the US. Its agenda and date as well as participants shall be determined by the Co-sponsored following consultations with stakeholders. Cosponsors shall also monitor the implementation of the Conference decisions and the activities of working groups that could be set up.
The venue of the Conference: Geneva, the Swiss Confederation.
Date of the Conference:
- Permanent UN SC members:
Russia - co-ponsor
US - co-sponsor
Great Britain
- UN Secretary-General
(OIC Secretary-General)
- LAS Secretary-General
- EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
- Special Representative for Syria L. Brahimi
- Neighbouring countries and other regional states:
Saudi Arabia
The representation of Syrian parties at the Conference shall be provided through the participation of the Government of Syria, on the one hand, and of all opposition groups acting on the platform of a political settlement of the crisis Within the framework of the Geneva agreements, on the other.
Based on the results of the initial phase of the Conference, the participants are expected to adopt a Joint Statement confirming their commitment to a political settlement of the Syrian crisis and containing their explicit obligations to facilitate finding an early solution by the Syrians themselves in the framework of the Geneva agreements, including:
- cessation of armed violence and incitement to it, as Well as all forms of outside involvement, and controlled suppression of illegal arms supplies and traffic in militants;
- launching of the negotiating process, inter alia with a view to the creation, based on a mutual agreement between the Government of Syria and opposition groups, of a transitional governing authority in accordance with Geneva Communiqué of 30 June 2012;
- initiation of an inclusive dialogue with the participation of representatives of the Government of Syria, opposition groups, as well as all other significant quarters of the Syrian society with a view to determining major parameters of the political process aimed at restoring stability, ensuring national reconciliation and implementing reforms in line with legitimate aspirations of the people of Syria to allow them to decide their own destiny in an independent and democratic way.
With the support of the co-sponsors and other participants in the Conference, the Syrian parties are to assume relevant obligations and start working to agree on the format of intra-Syrian negotiations on the following issues:
1) cessation of fire;
2) formation, on the basis of a mutual agreement between the Government of Syria and opposition group, of a transitional governing authority;
3) full restoration of the state sovereignty of Syria on its outside borders;
4) coordination of efforts to counteract terrorism, mercenary activities, gangsterism and other forms of organized crime;
5) ensuring security and law and order, including, in the first place, the cessation of violence and actions inflicting physical damage in the entire territory of the country;
6) provision of relief to the population in areas affected by hostilities;
7) release of detained persons who have not been charged with criminal activities, as well as all persons captured and illegally detained by whatever party to the conflict;
8) return of refugees and internally displaced persons.
The Conference could form, from among its participants, the following working groups:
- a working group to facilitate military and political stabilization;
- a working group to facilitate inclusive intra-Syrian dialogue and civil society development;
- a working group to facilitate normalization of the financial, economic and humanitarian situation;
a working group to assist the affected population and facilitate the return of refugees.
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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

UNSG Ban's report on UNDOF/ Syria

Attached is an advance copy of the Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) for the period from 1 April 2013 to 30 June 2013 for the information of the members of the Security Council.
This report will be issued as a document of the Security Council under the symbol S/2013/345.
12 June 2013

Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) for the Period from 1 April 2013 to 30 June 2013
I. Introduction
1. The present report gives an account of the activities of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) during the past three months pursuant to the mandate contained in Security Council Resolution 350 (1974) and extended in subsequent resolutions, most recently through Resolution 2084 dated 19 December 2012.

II. Situation in the Area and Activities of the Force
2. During the reporting period, the ceasefire between Israel and the Syrian Arab Republic was generally maintained, in an increasingly volatile environment attributable to the ongoing conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic. Breaches of the ceasefire by both sides are set out below. The Syrian Arab Armed Forces (SAAF) continued their deployment of personnel and equipment inside the area of separation and carried out military activities and security operations against armed members of the opposition in the UNDOF area of operation. Inside the area of separation, the presence of the Syrian armed forces and unauthorized military equipment is in violation of the 1974 Agreement of Disengagement between Israeli and Syrian forces.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

UN document: Syrian Army asked IDF not to hit its tanks in Golan

Hervé Ladsous, USG for Peacekeeping Operations,
speaks to journalists following a closed-door Security Council
meeting on the United Nations Disengagement Observer
Force (UNDOF). 26 March 2013
This note was submitted to the Security Council on Friday, 7 June 2013, by Herve Ladsous, UN Under Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations, diplomats said.
Note on developments in UNDOF
1. On the morning of 6 June, heavy clashes between the Arab Armed Forces (SAAF) and armed members of the opposition occurred in the area of separation, particularly in the vicinity of Quneitra and Qataniyah near the Bravo Gate (the entry point on the Bravo side to and from the Israeli-occupied Golan, maintained by Syrian authorities). UNDOF also reported shelling in the vicinity of Khan Arnabeh, Al Samdaniyah and Trunji, and mortar fire in the United Nations Observation Post 52, in the area of separation. Tank shells and mortars impacted in the vicinity of United Nations Position 60A. As a result of the fighting, several impacts of indirect mortar and heavy-machine gun fire hit the UNDOF Logistic Base, Camp Ziouani, located on the Alpha side (Israeli-occupied Golan). Two UNDOF personnel at Camp Ziouani sustained minor injuries and are in stable condition. UNDOF is currently assessing the extent of the damage to the facility. During the fighting UNDOF personnel at United Nations Positions 22, 25, 27 and 60 in the area of separation took shelter in their positions. UNDOF personnel at the Charlie Gate (on the ceasefire line and manned by UNDOF) relocated temporarily to the Alpha side.

2. During the clashes, SAAF reinforced its presence in the area of separation with five main battle tanks and five armoured personnel carriers, moving in the direction of Quneitra. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) informed the UNDOF Force Commander that should the movement of SAAF tanks continue, the IDF would take action. Subsequently, the UNDOF Force Commander conveyed the message to the Senior Syrian Arab Delegate (SSAD), UNDOF’s main interlocutor on the Bravo side. The SSAD informed the UNDOF Force Commander that the presence of the tanks was solely for the purpose of fighting the armed members of the opposition and asked that the IDF not take action. Also, during the fighting, armed members of the opposition took control temporarily of the Bravo Gate. After several hours of Clashes between the SAAF and the armed members of the opposition, the SAAF regained control of the Bravo Gate and fighting in the area had subsided. Currently, four main battle tanks and three armoured personnel carriers remain in the area of separation, in violation of the Disengagement Agreement.

3. The SSAD informed UNDOF that SSAD Liaison Officers at the Bravo Gate suffered fatalities. The Government of Israel Liaison Officer informed UNDOF that the IDF had provided emergency medical treatment to a total of 16 armed members of the opposition, all of whom had been returned to the Bravo side. UNDOF does not have any additional information on casualties or fatalities among SAAF or armed members of the opposition.

4. Throughout the fighting, the UNDOF Force Commander remained in contact with both sides in an effort to prevent an escalation of the situation across the ceasefire line, and to ensure the safety and security of United Nations personnel.

5. As stated by the Secretary - General, further to the announced decision by the Government of Austria to withdraw its contingent from UNDOF, the United Nations is approaching Member States in an effort to identify urgently new contributors or additional contributions to UNDOF.
DPKO / 6 June 2013
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Friday, June 7, 2013

Security Council statement on humanitarian situation in Qusayr/ Syria

Security Council Draft Press Statement

The members of the Security Council express their grave concern about the humanitarian impact of the recent heavy fighting in Al-Qusayr.

The members of the Security Council call upon the Syrian Government to allow immediate, safe and unhindered  access, in accordance with the UN guiding principles of humanitarian assistance, to relevant humanitarian, including UN, actors, to reach civilians in Al-Qusayr, in urgent need of assistance, in particular medical assistance.

The members of the Security Council call upon all parties in Syria to do their utmost to protect civilians and avoid civilian casualties, recalling the primary responsibility of the Syrian Government in this regard.  They emphasise that those responsible for violations of applicable international law will be held accountable.
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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Security Council statement on UNDOF/ Syria, proposed by US, Russia

Press Statement on the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) 

New York, 6 June 2013 

The members of the Security Council strongly condemned intense fighting in the Area of Separation, including the attack which led to injuries suffered by two UNDOF peacekeepers on June 6.  The members of the Security Council urged full respect of the disengagement agreement of 31 May 1974. 
The members of the Security Council called upon all parties to fully cooperate with UNDOF in good faith to enable it to operate freely and to ensure full security of its personnel.  The members of the Security Council expressed their deep concern at the risk that all military activities in the area of separation conducted by any actor pose to the long-held ceasefire and the local population.  The members of the Security Council also noted with grave concern that there have been a number of incidents threatening the safety and security of UN personnel in recent months and underscored they would continue to monitor the situation closely.   
The members of the Security Council reaffirmed their unconditional support for UNDOF and expressed their deepest gratitude to UNDOF personnel and to troop-contributing countries, including the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization’s (UNTSO) Observer Group Golan.  The members of the Security Council recalled their request in resolution 2084 (2012) for the Secretary-General to ensure the Force has the capacity necessary to fulfill the mandate.
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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Brahimi's statement on first preparatory meeting in Geneva

Statement by Joint Special Representative for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi 
Geneva, 5 June 2013
The purpose of the trilateral meeting today between the Russian Federation, the United States and the United Nations was to build on the important step forward made on the 7th May 2013 between Foreign Minister Lavrov and Secretary of State Kerry in Moscow.
I am grateful to Deputy Ministers Bogdanov and Gatilov, and Under-Secretary of State Sherman, and their delegations, for coming to Geneva today, to discuss with us the necessary preparations for convening an international conference on Syria. I am very happy with the constructive nature of our discussions today and I believe we have made further positive steps towards the convening of a conference.
We all firmly agreed that a political solution to the crisis in Syria is the only solution possible, and is extremely urgent. The catastrophe on the ground is alarming and I think you know as much about it as I do, if not more. That tragedy has got to come to an end, for the sake of Syria and its people.
Evidently, there is still a lot of work to do to bring a conference about. For this reason, we have come to the conclusion today that it will not be possible to hold this conference in June. We will be continuing our consultations with Russia and the United States to see about windows of opportunity to hold the conference as soon as possible – hopefully, in July. We will work intensively over the next few weeks, and we will meet again here in Geneva on the 25th June.
We have agreed that the “Geneva Conference on Syria” will be held under the auspices of the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
The Russian Federation and the United States, being the initiating states of this conference, will play an important role throughout the process.
The goal of the conference will be to achieve a political solution to the conflict in Syria through a comprehensive agreement between the Government of Syria and the Syrian opposition for the full implementation of the Action Group Communique of the 30th of June 2012, and in particular, all aspects of the Agreed Principles and Guidelines for a Syrian-led transition which it contains and these are, I think, the words that came into through that Communique.
Central to this exercise, as also specified in the 30th of June 2012 Communique, is the creation by mutual consent of a Transitional Governing body, which would exercise full executive powers.
The conference would begin with a high-level meeting over two days for the non-Syrian participants as well as delegations representing the Syrian Government and the Syrian opposition, and that part will be chaired and opened by the Secretary-General. That first segment of the conference would be followed by intensive negotiations between the two Syrian parties, which I would facilitate.
I very much welcome the support Russia and the United States have committed to provide for my efforts throughout that process. I will be fully counting on them and on many others in the very difficult work ahead. I look forward to continuing consultations with a wide range of interlocutors in addition to the Russians and the Americans to build the momentum that we have started here today.
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Monday, June 3, 2013

Free Syrian Army's letter to Security Council on Qusair

Syrian Arab Republic 
Supreme Military Council 
Office of the Chief of Staff 
June 3, 2013

Statement in Support of UN Security Council Action regarding Qusair Siege

The siege of Qusair is intensifying as the Iranian-backed Hezbollah forces continue to pour across the Syrian-Lebanese border. Qusair’s 40,000 civilians, trapped in their homes as the regime onslaught rages around them, have no access to food or medicine and are unable to evacuate their injured. Yesterday, the Russian Federation hindered international efforts to relieve their suffering by blocking a Security Council’s declaration of concern.

On behalf of our citizens of Qusair, the Supreme Military Council demands that the Russian Federation withdraw its obstruction of international intervention. We call for immediate delivery of humanitarian aid to Qusair in line with the request of the UN agencies and the International Committee of the Red Cross. We pledge our readiness to help ensuring safe passage of humanitarian aid and call upon the UN to pressure the Assad regime to halt its relentless assaults on Qusair and commit to the same.

Additionally, Hezbollah is expanding its invasion of Syria and is now present in significant numbers in Aleppo as well as in areas east and west of Damascus. We fear that the illegal involvement of this sectarian militia will destabilize the region. We request that the Security Council takes firm action against their aggression. We demand that international pressure be exerted on the Lebanese government to enact measures to remove Hezbollah forces from Syrian territory lest we will be forced to turn our fight against the criminal Assad regime into an extended cross-border conflict.

Major General Dr. Eng. Salim Idris 
Chief of Staff, 
Supreme Military Council 
Free Syrian Army 

UK draft statement on Qusayr/ Syria, blocked by Russia

"The members of the Security Council express their grave concern about the situation in Al-Qusayr, Syria, and in particular the impact on civilians of the ongoing fighting.a

The members of the Security Council strongly call upon all sides to do their utmost to avoid civilian casualties and for the Syrian Government to exercise its responsibility to protect civilians.  They emphasise that those responsible for atrocities or other violations or abuses of applicable international law will be held accountable.

The members of the Security Council call upon the Syrian Government to allow immediate, full and unimpeded access to impartial humanitarian actors, including UN agencies, to reach civilians trapped in Al-Qusayr".
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