MOSCOW, June 8 (RIA Novosti) - A senior Russian foreign ministry official has responded to the United Nations’ decision not to accept Russian peacekeepers in the Golan Heights by reiterating that Russian troops can replace Austrian forces when they withdraw.
“If the UN really is concerned by tensions in the Golan Heights, then sending a Russian contingent in is the solution,” Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov posted on his Twitter account on Saturday afternoon.
On Friday Russia offered to send its peacekeepers to the Golan Heights as part of a UN monitoring mission after Austria said it would withdraw its forces, citing an “unacceptable level of danger to its personnel.”
The UN News Center on Friday reported that two peacekeepers had been injured the previous day during “intense fighting in the area of separation monitored by the UN Disengagement Observer Force.”
It added that this area “has come under increasing threat and attacks in recent months as fighting between Syrian forces and anti-government groups continues unabated.”
The UN on Friday said that, although it welcomed Russia’s proposal, the peacekeeping agreements prevent it from accepting Russian troops, as permanent Security Council members are barred from taking part in the UN Disengagement Observer Force.
Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister responded to this by tweeting “And there’s no need to refer to 40-year-old limitations. The task of supporting peace and stability requires a different kind of political thinking.”
"This is a matter for the UN Security Council," Gatilov added, in a third tweet on the issue.