Russia offers peacekeepers for Golan Heights

United Nation, June 8 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Russia is ready to deploy its troops to the Golan Heights, in eastern Israel, to replace Austrian peacekeepers as part of a UN monitoring mission on the border between Israeli troops and the Syrian army, President Vladimir Putin said Friday.

Austria announced Thursday about withdrawing its 377 troops from the UN’s’ 1,100-strong force following battles at Quneitra in Syria.

“In view of the complex situation that is emerging in the Golan Heights, we could replace the Austrian contingent that is leaving the area,” Putin said.

“Needless to say, (we would do so) only if regional powers are interested in that and if the UN secretary general asks us to do that.”

A UN spokesperson Friday said the UN would welcome Russian peacekeepers in the Golan Heights.

“The UN welcomes any contribution by the world community to peacemaking efforts in the Golan Heights, and the UNDOF (UN Disengagement Observer Force) is very important for the maintenance of peace in the region,” UN spokesman Farhan Haq said.

Russian parliamentarians Friday supported Putin’s move.

–IANS/RIA Novosti

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