Explanation of vote by Ambassador Berger on the UNDOF Resolution
UNDOF was established in 1974. It has been operating now for more than 37 years. We salute the men and women who serve and have served to support UNDOF in the discharge of its mandate. We are looking forward to receiving an assessment of the capacity of UNDOF in the next report to ensure the appropriate operational capability also in the future.
On May 15thand June 5th, demonstrations in the UNDOF area of operations resulted in a number of civilian casualties that, to quote the Secretary-General’s report “put the long-held ceasefire in jeopardy” – an assessment we fully share.
We deeply regret the loss of life and we are seriously concerned by these events, which are the most serious incidents since the establishment of UNDOF’s mandate.
These events could not go unreflected.That is why we deviated from the long standing practice of reiterating the same resolutions as in previous years.
While we call on both parties, Israel and Syria, to fulfill their obligations under the 1974 Status of Forces Agreement, we note that these demonstrations would not have been possible without Syrian consent and call upon Syria to refrain from any action that could provoke further unrest.
All throughout the country, Syrian authorities have been cracking down on demonstrations against their government with utmost brutality. However, on May 15thand June 5th, they have actively encouraged demonstrations against Israel in one of the most sensitive areas of the country.
Syria seems to be willing to risk an international conflict in order to deviate the attention from its repression of legitimate calls for political freedom voiced by its population.
Subsequent riots in the Yarmuk refugee camp indicate that Palestinian refugees have realized that they and their aspirations were manipulated and abused in this very dangerous game.
Violence in Syria must stop. Imprisoned demonstrators have to be freed and instead of spreading fear, meaningful reforms need to be implemented. Playing off parts of the multifaceted Syrian society against each other will not work. We join the Secretary General’s call on the Security Council to express itself on the situation in Syria. For us, this is long overdue.