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UN Security Council to hold emergency talks on peacekeeping force in Golan Heights


08:02, June 08, 2013

UNITED NATIONS, June 7 (Xinhua) -- The UN Security Council is scheduled to meet behind closed doors later Friday on the latest developments concerning the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) , which came under an attack on Thursday with two of its peacekeepers injured.

The closed-door meeting is slated to begin at 3:00 p.m. EDT ( 1900GMT) at UN Headquarters in New York, UN officials said here.

Mark Lyall Grant, the British UN ambassador who holds the rotating council presidency for June, told reporters that the 15 council members are scheduled to receive a briefing by UN Under- Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Herve Ladsous on the latest developments.

UNDOF is responsible for monitoring the 1974 disengagement accord between Syria and Israel after their 1973 war.

Since last November, UNDOF has had its peacekeepers seized by armed groups, its observation posts attacked and looted, and its freedom of movement curtailed.

On Thursday, Austria, which contributes about one-third of UNDOF's troops, informed UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of its decision to withdraw its soldiers, reportedly citing a lack of freedom of movement and an unacceptable level of danger to its personnel.

In response, Ban voiced his regret at Austria's decision, while expressing his gratitude to those countries who are continuing to provide troops and military observers to the mission.

UN spokesman Martin Nesirky told reporters here Thursday that UNDOF has 911 troops at present, including 377 from Austria, 341 from the Philippines and 193 from India.

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