9 June 2010

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Paying Tribute to Burundi’s Peacekeepers in Somalia, Secretary-General

Says He Looks Forward to Full Deployment of African Union Mission

Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks, delivered in French, at his meeting with the Burundian Battalion of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in Bujumbura, Burundi, today, 9 June:

My visit to Burundi would not be complete without taking the time to express my deep gratitude to the Government for its strong support for AMISOM, and to the dedicated individuals who serve in this vitally important operation.

Your contribution shows Burundi’s commitment to international peace and security.† And it is critically important for AMISOM’s success in Somalia.† AMISOM peacekeepers are the frontline soldiers confronting a daunting Somali crisis.

The Mission protects the Transitional Federal Institutions and provides security for key infrastructure.† It helps to re-establish and train the new Somali security forces.† And it contributes to the creation of the security conditions we need to deliver humanitarian assistance.

Some of you have already worked in Somalia under very challenging and dangerous conditions.† Others will be going soon.† To all of you, I express my admiration for your dedication and bravery.† Let me assure you that the international community remains firm in our commitment to provide solid support for AMISOM’s deployment, through the United Nations support package.

In addition, we will continue to work with the donors to provide required resources, and with the African Union to encourage other African Member States to contribute troops.† I look forward to the deployment of the fourth battalion from Burundi.† With its arrival, AMISOM will be one step closer to reaching its full authorized strength of 8,000†military personnel.

Now I would like to pay tribute to the Burundian peacekeepers who have paid the ultimate price while serving the cause of peace and stability in Somalia.† Let us observe a minute of silence in their honour.

Thank you.† Again, I would like personally to salute you for bringing hope to the people of Somalia.† I wish each and every one of you my very best as you carry out this important responsibility.† The international community is grateful for your courage and professionalism.

Long live the partnership between Burundi and the United Nations.

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For information media • not an official record