UN urgently looking for new troops for Golan force

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says the United Nations is urgently looking for troops to replace Austrian peacekeepers who are regrettably withdrawing from the UN force on the Golan Heights.

Ban condemned an attack Thursday which injured two peacekeepers in the force which monitors the disengagement of Israeli and Syrian forces in the Golan Heights, UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said.

The secretary-general said the crisis in Syria is having a destabilizing impact beyond its borders and warned that any military activity in the zone separating Israeli and Syrian forces could jeopardize the long-held ceasefire, Nesirky said.

Ban said the continued presence of the force is essential.

Austria provided 377 of the 911 peacekeepers in the force and Nesirky said their withdrawal will affect the mission’s operation.

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