Israel says regrets exit of Austrian peacekeepers from Golan

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel said on Thursday it regrets Austria's decision to withdraw its peacekeepers from a U.N. force in the Golan Heights and hopes the move will not lead to further escalation of conflict along the Syrian frontier.

"While appreciating Austria's longtime contribution and commitment to peacekeeping in the Middle East, we nevertheless regret this decision and hope that it will not be conducive to further escalation in the region," the Israeli Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

"Israel expects the United Nations to uphold its commitment under Security Council Resolution 350 (1974), in virtue of which UNDOF has been established," the statement said. It was referring to the 1,000-strong U.N. Disengagement Observer Force that monitors a decades-old ceasefire between Syria and Israel.

(Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by Mark Heinrich)