UN Security Council demands release of detained peacekeepers

United Nations, Sep 4 (IANS)┬áThe UN Security Council Wednesday reiterated its call for immediate and unconditional release of 45 detained peacekeepers in the Syria’s Golan Heights.

“The members of the Security Council again condemned in the strongest terms the detention of 45 Fijian peacekeepers by a Security Council-designated terrorist organisation,” Xinhua quoted US ambassador to the UN Samantha Power, who holds the rotating council presidency, as saying.

The Council members reiterated their call for the peacekeepers’ immediate and unconditional release, Power said, stressing that “there can never be any justification” for attacks on or the detention of UN peacekeepers.

The 15-nation body welcomed news that all Filipino peacekeepers are now safe and insisted that United Nations Disengagement Observer Force’s (UNDOF) mandate, impartiality, operations, safety, and security must be respected.

A total of 72 Filipino blue helmets came under renewed attacks from armed Syrian rebels last Saturday as efforts were in full swing to ensure early and safe release of 44 UN peacekeepers from Fiji who were detained Thursday.

The troops are part of the UN observer force which has monitored the disengagement zone between Israel and Syria since 1974 following the 1973 Arab-Israeli war.

The UN said Sunday that the Filipino contingent of its peacekeeping force in the Golan Heights escaped from armed elements to an alternate site and are safe.

UNDOF peacekeepers were previously detained by armed elements in March and May of 2013 and were released safely.

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