‘Cyclic Targets’ for Peacekeeping Tantamount to Putting Price on Peace – Price Dearly Paid by Millions of Civilians in Conflict, Fourth Committee Hears

26 October 2010
GA/SPD/464

‘Cyclic Targets’ for Peacekeeping Tantamount to Putting Price on Peace – Price Dearly Paid by Millions of Civilians in Conflict, Fourth Committee Hears

26 October 2010
General Assembly
GA/SPD/464
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-fifth General Assembly

Fourth Committee

16th Meeting (AM)

 ‘Cyclic Targets’ for Peacekeeping Tantamount to Putting Price on Peace – Price

Dearly Paid by Millions of Civilians in Conflict, Fourth Committee Hears

 

Classic Role of Inserting Troops between Warring States Shifts to Brokering

Intra-State Conflicts, Requiring Better Alignment of Peace Missions with Mandates

The classic practice of inserting peacekeepers between warring parties had shifted as troops now confronted intra-State issues, requiring new dimensions in civilian, policing and civic domains, the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) was told today, as it continued its general debate on the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects.

Noting the Brahimi Report of the Panel on United Nations Peacekeeping Operations, India’s representative stressed that there was a need for mandates and missions to be better aligned, and that the drafting of a credible mandate should logically be the starting point of any peacekeeping operation.

He went on to say that while peacekeeping had a substantial budget by United Nations standards, it still amounted to less than 0.5 percent of worldwide military expenditure.  As peacekeeping operations gathered momentum, they required more resources, not fewer, and military components should be supplemented rather than supplanted, by police and other institutions.  The Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with about 18,000 peacekeepers, in effect provided one peacekeeper per 100 square kilometres for a country the size of Western Europe.

In relation to the needs, the resources available for peacekeeping were utterly inadequate, he said, cautioning that there were no shortcuts to peacekeeping when “we are dealing with forces that have a stake in continuing instability”, and those forces could not be overcome unless there was commitment for the long haul. 

Also difficult, he said, was to use objective parameters to determine an exit point for complex operations.  Success was defined by durable peace and a successful peace agreement.  Two-thirds of peacekeeping resources were devoted to operations that were at least five years old and, thus, the international community must ensure gains were not squandered.

In that vein, Swaziland’s representative said that while he did not discount the value of setting “cyclic targets” for peacekeeping, doing so was also tantamount to putting a price on peace – a price that was dearly paid by millions of civilians bearing the brunt of a conflict.

Regardless of a given conflict’s root cause, many delegates agreed that peacekeepers were tasked with greater challenges than ever before. Eritrea’s representative said that since rehabilitating and building national institutions had been added to missions, peacekeeping had become more complex and difficult.

Peacekeepers were asked to operate in hostile environments, said Eritrea’s speaker, who asserted that Blue Helmets were put in situations where there was no peace to keep.  Owing to a lack of trust and confidence in their role as impartial bodies by the parties to the conflict, their lives were put at risk and their presence was a day-to-day challenge.  The multiplicity of armed actors, shaky peace accords where key actors were presumably excluded, and civilians caught among competing armed elements, had become common features of certain peacekeeping situations.  Thus, consent of the parties, impartiality and non-use of force except in self-defence would ensure the United Nations credibility.

Around the room, emphasis was placed on upholding those Charter-based principles of peacekeeping, along with the need to define mandates and position them in a way that was achievable on the ground.  Pakistan’s representative urged greater participation by troop- and police-contributing countries in the design of mandates, for the provision of adequate resources, and for other countries to step up and share the burden of contributing troops.

Egypt’s representative, concerned that peacekeeping was tasked with responsibilities beyond the nature of its political role and abilities, urged a common vision for the operations and strengthened partnerships with the Secretariat to ensure that it gained the political, financial and logistical support it needed.

He stressed the importance of the Security Council’s commitment to drafting clear and achievable mandates, based on an objective assessment, arrived at without haste.  Deterrence should be achieved without the unjustified expansion in use of force, and more attention should be paid to exit strategies through increased efforts to settle disputes.

Speaking to the operations within his own country, the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) and United Nations Advance Mission in Sudan (UNAMIS), Sudan’s representative said that all parties were working to overcome the obstacles to peace.  While Sudan faced peacekeeping challenges, he also stressed the importance of international law and respect for State sovereignty, non- interference and territorial integrity. 

That representative further said that while there was a need to define mandates and provide resources to the mandates, such measures were not enough in and of themselves.  Rather, cooperation and coordination must be transparent and provided through competent institutions, including assistance provided by troop-contributing countries.  Further, he said that any attempt to use pretexts to intervene in a State’s own affairs made no contribution to peace or stability.

Along those lines, Libya’s representative said that maintaining the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of host countries was the only guarantee for the success of peacekeeping operations.  Acknowledging the pioneering role undertaken by the United Nations in the field of peacekeeping, he said the process should not however be an alterative to the final settlement of the root causes of conflicts, be they financial, political or social.

Countering that sentiment, Serbia’s representative reiterated that, while it was vital that peacekeeping be carried out with strict respect for the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity, missions must not get involved in causes of conflict.

Speaking on behalf of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), Thailand’s representative stressed that to ensure a smooth transition after peacekeeping, peacebuilding should start its foundation much earlier than at the exit of operations.  Furthermore, sustainable development must be ensured for sustainable peace to take hold in post-conflict societies. 

Also participating in the debate were the representatives of Israel, South Africa, Jordan, Colombia, Ethiopia, Algeria, Zimbabwe, and Myanmar.

Speaking in exercise of the right of reply was the representative of Lebanon.

The Fourth Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. tomorrow, 27 October, to conclude its general debate on the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects.

Background

The Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) met this morning to continue its general debate on the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects.

Statements

NATTAWUT SABYEROOP (Thailand), speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and aligning himself with the statement of the Non-Aligned Movement, reiterated his unwavering belief that peacekeeping was an important instrument for maintaining international peace and security.  Operations must be implemented in accordance with the principles and purposes of the United Nations Charter and relevant Security Council resolutions.  In the past few years, operations had become more complex, multidimensional and with integrated mandates.  Thus, he emphasized the importance of clear, achievable mandates.  Troop- and police-contributing countries should be involved and consulted at the early stages of mandate drafting, and they should receive frequent, up-to-date training.  With respect to multidimensional peacekeeping operations, ASEAN encouraged transparent and inclusive consultations with relevant stakeholders, including host countries. ASEAN commended the efforts by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Field Support (DFS) in exploring ways and means to enhance the efficiency of United Nations peacekeeping operations.

He said that another development had been recognition of the nexus between peacekeeping and peacebuilding, and ASEAN reiterated that the two were complementary.  To ensure a smooth transition, peacebuilding should start building its foundation in post-conflict societies much earlier than at the exit of peacekeeping operations.  However, peacekeeping and peacebuilding were just a few elements; sustainable development must be ensured for sustainable peace to take hold in post-conflict societies.  In the field, ASEAN Member States contributed almost 4,000 peacekeepers to 14 peacekeeping operations.  From the Thai delegation, he noted that the Foreign Minister of Thailand made it clear that the country stood ready to contribute to the maintenance of peace and security worldwide.

AMIR WEISSBROD (Israel) said that while his delegation had supported the process of using benchmarks as a method for ensuring progress in peacekeeping operations, that process should be conducted carefully and take into account the complexities on the ground.  In the past three years, Israel had taken modest steps to respond to the call for peacekeeping expansion, by contributing a 14-person police unit to United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), after the earthquake.

He said that United Nations peacekeepers, such as in those serving in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), conducted their work in challenging circumstances.  Since the adoption of Security Council resolution 1701 (2006), UNIFIL had been an important force for stability along the Lebanese-Israeli border.  Israel remained fully committed to the full implementation of resolution 1701, and continued to offer full support to the UNIFIL troops in Southern Lebanon.  However, Hizbullah continued to build up its military forces and armaments in South Lebanon, especially in civilian villages, using houses and private institutions as venues for concealing weapons.  It was unfortunate that the Lebanese Armed Forces did not intervene in a timely or robust manner with regard to Hizbullah weapons caches.  He called on the Armed Forces and UNIFIL to take more significant action in halting the dangerous rearmament of terrorist organizations in the villages of Southern Lebanon.

UNIFIL’s operations had been increasingly obstructed by “so-called civilians”, which represented a continued effort by Hizbullah to purposefully and cynically use civilians to stand in the way of that Mission’s important work, he said. A very clear message should be sent denouncing the use of that dangerous tactic.

ABUZIED SHAMSELDIM AHMED MOHAMED (Sudan), aligning his delegation with the statement made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, noted that the Special Committee on Peacekeeping had ended its session and the Fourth Committee was considering its findings.  Those included the challenges to peacekeeping, which required flexibility in order for missions to achieve their goals in line with those of the Charter.  Regarding the situation in Sudan, his country was working with the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) and United Nations Advance Mission in Sudan (UNAMIS), and the United Nations, itself, in constant coordination.  All were working to overcome all obstacles to peace.

He said his Government was working to provide development projects and services to South Sudan, in the areas of health, agriculture, and financial resources through donations, loans and State budgets.  South Sudan was also benefiting from oil revenue.  The referendum on the future of South Sudan, which would take place 9 January 2011, would bring peace and stability; it should be impartial and free of coercion, so the will of the people could be freely expressed.  The Abeye region needed a solution, so as not to see a rekindling of conflict.

Sudan had faced peacekeeping challenges; there was a need to respect the goals and aims of the United Nations and peacekeeping operations, as well as a need for impartiality and the consent of the parties, he said.  He stressed the importance of international law and respect for State sovereignty, non- interference and territorial integrity.  There was a need to define mandates and provide resources to the mandates, however that was not enough in itself; cooperation and coordination must be transparent and provided through competent institutions.  That included assistance provided by troop-contributing countries.  His delegation stressed the strategy for Darfur that would lead to peace, which included guaranteeing security in the larger sense and development to encourage the return of internally displaced persons and national reconciliation.

He added that the African Union had an important role to play in the joint mission in Darfur and in the peace process.  He called for consolidated resources for a regional solution.  Africa had a role to play in that, and the role of the General Assembly was also essential, as no other body could replace it in evaluating peacekeeping operations.  The New Horizon document established proposals to consolidate and reform United Nations peacekeeping policies.  It mentioned protection of civilians, which was part and parcel of the responsibility of national authorities.  Any attempt to undermine State sovereignty would complicate things and hinder the peace process; that question should be discussed transparently, based on international law.  Any attempt to use pretexts to intervene in a State’s own affairs, he reiterated, made no contribution to peace or stability.  The concept of civilian protection must be defined.  Many civilians were killed or had their villages destroyed without any party taking interest in helping or protecting them.

MAGED ABDELAZIZ (Egypt), aligning himself with the statement made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that United Nations peacekeeping was tasked with responsibilities beyond the nature of its political role and abilities.  That burden, on the Organization and troop-contributing countries alike, required the international community to build on its achievements.  Peacekeeping needed a common vision and strengthened partnerships with the Secretariat to ensure that it gained the political, financial and logistical support it needed.

He said it was important to reach consensus between Member States on policy development with regard to peacekeeping, and to provide all necessary financial, human resources, military and civilian support to operations.  He also stressed the importance of the Security Council’s commitment to draft clear and achievable mandates, based on an objective assessment, arrived at without haste.  Deterrence should be achieved without the unjustified expansion in use of force, and more attention should be paid to exit strategies through increased efforts to settle disputes.  Integration between peacekeeping and peacebuilding should be enhanced, and an integrated study of all aspects of the proposals regarding protection of civilians in armed conflict should be conducted.  The activities of police in United Nations peacekeeping should be supported in light of their growing role, particularly in the African Union, and he called on the United Nations to support the African Union financially and logistically to enable it to develop its structures and capabilities to peacefully solve disputes.

Consultations on the implementation of the Global Field Strategy should be completed, in order to ensure full support for the efforts to address the challenges of logistical and administrative support for peacekeeping operations, he said.  Egypt would enhance its national contribution of army and police, as well as it civilian experts, to United Nations peacekeeping missions.  Egypt was ranked fifth in the list of top troop-contributing countries; it contributed to 10 peacekeeping missions with a total of 5,458 personnel.  That was evidence of its commitment and support to maintaining international peace and security.

BASO SANGQU (South Africa), associating his delegation with the statement delivered on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, paid tribute to the brave men and women who given the ultimate sacrifice in the service of humanity in very difficult and challenging conditions.  Peacekeeping had become complex and multifaceted.  In many conflict situations, the United Nations was the face of the international community, and under those circumstances, the success or failure of the United Nations was measured by the success of its peacekeeping operations.  Given that critical role, intervention rested on several key areas, which the United Nations should address to ensure peacekeeping’s enhanced efficiency.

First, he said, there was a need for clearly articulated mandates, accompanied by adequate resources and capabilities.  Expectations must be managed to ensure that mandates were realistic and implementable.  Mandates must be accompanied by clear operational guidelines.  The ongoing deliberations on the Global Field Support Strategy were therefore important, as was the need to balance the twin demand for operational effectiveness with efficiency.  Second, the protection of civilians was a mandate, and the perceived lack of protection of civilians by the mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and elsewhere was the source of much criticism.  South Africa welcomed a strategic framework to guide mission-wide strategies to protect civilians.  Peacekeeping played a role in creating an enabling environment for the establishment of the foundations of sustainable peace, rule of law and good governance.  He welcomed the consensus that maintaining and sustaining peace required an integrated approach.  Third, he noted the role of cooperation with regional organizations, and appreciated the ongoing synergy between the Secretariat and the African Union in terms of the 10-year capacity building programme.  The success of the United Nations in conflict situations was largely measured by its peacekeeping operations.  However, a more accurate measure would be a greater appreciation for its work in conflict prevention.

ZWELETHU MNISI (Swaziland), associating his statement with that made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that each Member State of the United Nations should carry the obligation to guarantee the prevention, management, and resolution of conflict, in harmony with the dictates of the Charter.  He welcomed the work done by the African Union-United Nations Panel established under Security Council resolution 1809 (2008) to consider the modalities for support to African peacekeeping operations.  While gains had been made, further challenges lay ahead.  Swaziland did not discount the value of setting cyclic targets for peacekeeping, but doing so was also tantamount to putting a price on peace that was dearly paid by millions of civilians bearing the brunt of a conflict.

He stressed that peacekeeping and peace support needed to have a strong humanitarian dimension, such as through Security Council resolution 1325 (2000), on the role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts.  The lever lay heavily on the implementation of international humanitarian and human rights law that protected women and girls during and after conflicts.  The creation of UN Women had been a positive development in the pursuit of the interests of women on that front.

MOHAMMAD ABDO ABD ELKARIM TARAWNEH (Jordan), associating his delegation with the statement made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said peacekeeping was now multidimensional and complex.  However, Jordan, as a troop-contributing country, appreciated the achievements of the United Nations in peacekeeping and its way of dealing with unprecedented events in the field.  Jordan welcomed greater dialogue between the troop-contributing countries, the Secretariat and the Security Council.  He specifically noted Jordan’s help to build peace in Liberia.

He noted several points, starting with the importance of civilians, police and others in assisting peacebuilding efforts, and especially with role of the rule-of-law offices.  He reinforced the need for protecting civilians in armed conflict.  That responsibility fell to national Governments, but peacekeeping operations should contribute to that fight.  On the reform of peacekeeping, he drew attention to the New Horizon process, and acknowledged the need for a global field support strategy.  He supported the efforts of the Special Committee and looked forward to improved initiatives for peacekeeping.  He noted the need for training and capacity building, and in conclusion, added his support to the spirit of sacrifice of all peacekeepers working to save people from the scourges of war.

EZZIDIN Y.A. BELKHEIR ( Libya) emphasized the pioneering role undertaken by the United Nations in the field of peacekeeping, but said the process should not be an alterative to the final settlement of the root causes of conflicts, be they financial, political or social.  Large sums should also be saved instead of spent on military equipment, and should be used for development instead.  He expressed concern about the large peacekeeping budgets.  It was important not to ignore the low-success of Millennium Development Goals in countries affected by conflict, and to put more efforts towards development.

Also important, he said, was to maintain the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of host countries, as that was the only guarantee for the success of peacekeeping operations.  He emphasized the need for continuous communication between troop-contributing countries, the Secretariat, and the Departments of Peacekeeping Operations and Field Support.  Coordination should be increased between the troop-contributing countries and the Security Council.  The African Union also played a vital role, particularly with regard to UNAMID.  The Special Committee had an important role in reviewing all peacekeeping issues, and its role should be promoted.  Protecting civilians was the core responsibility of the host countries.  As for robust peacekeeping, that should only be exercised in concert with the principle of non-use of force.  In closing, he saluted those who had sacrificed their lives in the name of peace.

SHASHI THAROOR ( India), aligning his delegation with the statement made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, applauded the sacrifices of peacekeepers.  India contributed more than 100,000 peacekeepers to virtually every peacekeeping operation in the past six decades.  Much had changed since the first peacekeeping mission was launched in 1956.  The conflicts missions faced today dealt with intra-State issues rather than the classic role of interposing troops between warring States.  The peacekeeping agenda had acquired new dimensions in civilian, policing and civic domains.  There was a need for the mandate and mission to be better aligned, and thus the drafting of a credible mandate should logically be the starting point of an operation as noted in the Brahimi Report.  As peacekeeping operations gathered momentum, they required more resources, not less. The military component would have to be supplemented and not supplanted, by police and other institutions.

He said that peacekeeping had a substantial budget by United Nations standards, but amounted to less than 0.5 percent of worldwide military expenditure.  The Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with about 18,000 peacekeepers, in effect provided one peacekeeper per 100 square kilometres for a country the size of Western Europe.  Thus, in relation to the needs, the resources available for peacekeeping were utterly inadequate.  The Department of Peacekeeping Operations needed more policemen and more rule of law and development administration personnel.  There were no shortcuts to peacekeeping, and he noted that, “we are dealing with forces that have a stake in continuing instability”, and those forces could not be overcome unless there was commitment for the long haul.  Peacekeeping required more partners.  It was difficult to use objective parameters to determine an exit point for complex operations, and success was defined by a durable peace and a successful peace agreement.  Two-thirds of peacekeeping resources were devoted to operations that were at least five years old and, thus, the international community must ensure gains were not squandered.

Eighty per cent of peacekeeping resources were devoted to areas with a legacy of colonialism; the problems they faced were not unique, he said, adding that it stood to reason that post-colonial nation-building experiences were relevant in planning and administering peacekeeping missions.  Turning to the role of women, he noted that India had deployed the first all-women police unit, in Liberia, in 2007.  That had inspired many Liberian women to join their own country’s force and had reaffirmed that women had a qualitative value to field missions.  He noted the role of the Department of Public Information in highlighting peacekeeping success stories.  Finally, he saluted those who laid down their lives while serving in missions, especially in Haiti.

CLAUDIA BLUM (Colombia), associating her statement with those made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement and of the Rio Group, said that since peacekeeping operations were one of the key instruments available to the United Nations in discharging its mandates related to the maintenance of international peace and security, the basic principles of consent of the parties, impartiality and the use of force only in cases of self-defence or defence of the mandate, could not be ignored when analyzing alternative responses to the challenges on the ground.

She said that the earthquake in Haiti showed the need to ensure that contingency measures that helped to avoid disruptions of operations in emergency situations that could directly affect them.  The tragedy in Haiti also demonstrated the role that peacekeeping operations could play in improving the capacities for timely and appropriate responses in emergency situations.  As a country that contributed police officers to MINUSTAH, Colombia maintained its commitment to Haiti’s socio-economic recovery and political and institutional stability.  In that regard, she welcomed the recent adoption of Security Council resolution 1944 (2010), as the expansion of the mandate in Haiti was the right step towards the country’s sustained recovery and reconstruction.

ABDULLAH HUSSAIN HAROON (Pakistan), aligning his delegation with the statements made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement and on behalf the Group of 77 developing countries and China, said that Pakistan had, over the years, demonstrated a strong commitment to United Nations peacekeeping, and was host to one of the oldest missions, the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP).  Pakistan currently deployed more than 10,691 personnel in 11 peacekeeping missions around the world, accounting for 12 per cent of the total United Nations peacekeeping deployment.  Pakistan had lost more than 100 personnel in those endeavours.

He said that United Nations peacekeeping was confronted with several challenges, among them were developing responses to complex crises; evolving comprehensive approaches; formulating clear and realistic mandates that were both achievable and responded to on-the-ground realities; providing commensurate resources; promoting partnership among the Security Council, the Secretariat and the troop-contributing countries; and getting crucial political support and commitment from Member States — paramount for the success of peacekeeping.  In order to meet those challenges, it was necessary for the troop-contributing countries to participate in the design of mandates, for adequate resources to be provided, and for other countries to step up and share the burden of contributing troops.  It also required that peacekeeping be backed by greater political will, and that greater interface be maintained between peacekeeping and peacebuilding in light of the greater complexity of contemporary conflicts.

In recent times, there had been a plethora of initiatives outside the United Nations system in the name of improving United Nations peacekeeping, he said.  While efforts to improve the efficacy of United Nations peacekeeping were to be appreciated, it was important to maintain the centrality of the Special Committee as the only decision-making body in the United Nations system on peacekeeping matters.  Additionally, while protecting civilians remained one of the important mandated tasks and objectives of peacekeeping, it was important not to lose sight of the fact that only a peaceful and secure environment could ensure civilian protection, and such conditions could only be maintained by capable and resourced national authorities.

AMAN HASSEN BAME ( Ethiopia), aligning his delegation with the statement of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that peacekeeping was a viable tool to maintain international peace and security.  However, the recent surge in the demands of peacekeeping in conflict zones, coupled with the multidimensional and complex nature of the mandates, presented enormous challenges.  The traditional purview of peacekeeping had changed.  The new operations necessitated a pragmatic approach, including engaging in early peacebuilding tasks and deploying with clear and achievable mandates, as well as the allocation of enormous resources.  He stressed that all the United Nations peacekeeping operations should be conducted in line with the United Nations Charter and relevant resolutions.

Cooperation between the Security Council, troop- and police- contributing countries, the Secretariat, and host countries, was an essential element in the effective implementation of peacekeeping mandates, he said.  Of paramount importance was a shared vision and meaningful partnership among all actors.  Troop-contributing countries should be a part of the policy-making process.  Cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations was also important in resolving conflicts and, thus, he commended the considerable progress made by the United Nations and the African Union in alleviating conflict in Africa.

He said he was concerned about the recurring problems of not being reimbursed fully or on a timely basis; and noted outstanding reimbursements that the United Nations owed to troop-contributing countries, which were important resources for the preparation and deployment of the next batch of peacekeepers.  All compensations must be paid, without unnecessary delay, to families of peacekeepers who lost their lives.  Ensuring safety of peacekeepers was critical, and thus, the security system must be strengthened to preserve United Nations credibility.  Ethiopia believed peace was the concern of all nations, regardless of their size or level of development.  Ethiopia had a long history of active participation in peacekeeping operations.  He noted the country’s commitment to deploy two battalions to the Democratic Republic of Congo and ongoing commitment to serving the cause of peace.

MOURAD BENMEHIDI (Algeria), aligning his delegation with the statement made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, welcomed the adoption of the Global Field Support Strategy, as well as the Brahimi Report, which put forward ways to improve peacekeeping operations.  The international community should tackle the many hurdles that hampered peacekeeping operations.  Together, with a system that was at its limit in terms of financing, constraints and challenges had grown.  Member States should improve dialogue, enhance responsibility, and better share the collective peacekeeping endeavour.  The Security Council should be fully committed and not be impaired by the difficulty of the process, as the legitimacy of the United Nations was at stake.  Troop-contributing countries had a role to play in the field; meaningful consultations would improve the chances of success.

With regard to the protection of civilians, he said that was a moral imperative, as human dignity was a common concern of all States.  However, there was no consensus or definition on protection of civilians.  As regarded “robust missions”, that quality should mark all aspects of missions.  As far as partnership with regional actors, especially the African Union, much needed to be done in terms of defining roles.  African leaders had unshakable will, but African Union actions were hampered by a lack of resources.  Strengthening African initiatives was key.  The untapped potential in terms of synergy between the Security Council and Peace and Security Council of the African Union should be brought to the fore.

IVONA BAGARIĆ (Serbia), aligning her statement with the statement made on behalf of the European Union, said that United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) had been deployed in the autonomous province of Kosovo and Metohija, a part of the territory of Serbia, under Security Council resolution 1244 (1999).  Serbia indirectly supported the achievements of the goals of the United Nations, both in its own country and around the world.  Serbia continued the long and rich tradition of Yugoslavia’s participation in peacekeeping missions, dating as far back as 1956.  In the last decade, Serbia had participated in a number of missions, namely in Timor-Leste, Burundi, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Chad, and the Central African Republic.  In 2011, members of the Serbian military and police were expected to be included in UNIFIL and the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) and in two multinational military missions headed by the European Union in Somalia.

She said that greater efficiency of United Nations operations, better use of resources and a growing commitment of Member States had encouraged Serbia to take an ever more active role in multinational operations.  The success of peacekeeping operations largely depended on the cooperation of the United Nations with troop-contributing countries and host countries.  That cooperation should not be confined to the specific issues of a particular mission, but to the whole range of other questions of general interest, like terrorism, and drug and human trafficking.  She reiterated that peacekeeping missions must not get involved in causes of conflict, and must be carried out with strict respect for the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity.

CHITSAKA CHIPAZIWA (Zimbabwe), aligning his delegation with the statement made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that peacekeeping operations  contributed to the maintenance of international peace and security, and though the dynamics for peacekeeping operations were changing, for their success, they should continue to adhere to the basic peacekeeping principles and those of the United Nations Charter.  Operations should be provided with support, clear mandates and adequate human and financial resources.  In the same vein, peacebuilding programmes should go hand-in-hand with peacekeeping and support recovery efforts.  Related to that was the need for clear rules of engagement.  Regional and subregional groupings were increasingly assuming greater responsibilities in preventative diplomacy, as well as in conflict prevention and resolution.  Thus, Zimbabwe underlined the need for the Security Council to further enhance cooperation with regional and subregional organizations, especially the African Union.

He said that the safety and security of United Nations peacekeeping personnel remained an issue of great concern.  Thus, he called on the Department of Peacekeeping Operations to strengthen United Nations field security arrangements and improve the safety of all in the field.  Gender equality was important, and he supported the need for equal participation of women peacekeepers, including in decision-making processes.  Equally important was implementation of the Peacekeeping Department’s gender guidelines for peacekeeping operations.  While he commended the Department of Field Support for improving the rate at which it processed claims for death and disability, Zimbabwe joined other troop- and police-contributing countries in their call for the process to be prompt.  The protection of civilians was the primary responsibility of the host nations.  Zimbabwe remained committed to playing its part in peacekeeping.

U KO KO SHEIN (Myanmar), aligning himself with the statement made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement and ASEAN, said that while maintaining international peace and security, United Nations peacekeeping missions needed to observe the principle of consent of the parties, impartiality, and the use of force only in self-defence or in defence of a mandate authorized by the Security Council.

He said that since the adoption of the Brahimi Report, many complex and divergent issues had arisen.  The Security Council, the General Assembly, the Fourth and Fifth Committees (Administrative and Budgetary), and the Secretariat should align their policy frameworks with the operational status on the ground of troop- and police-contributing countries and other stakeholders.  He stressed that there was no one-size-fits-all for approaches to conflict, but that it was important to streamline communication with Member States, and particularly to the troop- and police-contributing countries, as the success of the reform measures stood on the principles of unity of command and integration of effort at all levels, in the field and at Headquarters.

Further, his delegation attached great importance to the zero tolerance policy of sexual exploitation and abuse, and efforts must be strengthened to implement that policy, he urged.  In pursuing peacekeeping, the security and safety of international civil servants was tantamount to achieving the goals.

ELSA HAILE (Eritrea), aligning her delegation with the statement made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said the political developments and related changes in the international security environment over the past decade had created new challenges; peacekeeping operations ceased to be purely military and had shifted more to international conflicts.  Rehabilitating and building national institutions had been added to missions, making peacekeeping more complex and difficult.  Peacekeepers were asked to operate in hostile environments and were put in situations where there was no peace to keep; that put their lives at risk and made their presence day-to-day a challenge, owing to lack of trust and confidence in their role as impartial bodies by the parties to the conflict.  Multiplicity of armed actors, shaky peace accords, where key actors were presumably excluded, civilians caught among competing armed elements had become some of the common features of certain situations where peacekeepers were deployed, adding complexity to their task of peacekeeping.  Thus, consent of the parties, impartiality and non-use of force except in self-defence would ensure the United Nations credibility.

She said that the primary responsibility for international peace and security remained within the United Nations.  Regional arrangements must be made, in accordance with the provision of Chapter VIII of the Charter.  Those could not replace the role of the United Nations.  Nor was that an exemption from implementing the guiding principles of United Nations peacekeeping operations.  While the need for financial and logistical support from the larger United Nations membership was clear for such operations, the prevention of conflicts should be boosted.  Peacekeeping should not be the only tool for the attainment of peace and stability.  Eritrea was committed to zero-tolerance towards all forms of misconduct, including sexual abuse by peacekeepers.  However, the delegation was deeply concerned to learn that allegations relating to the most serious types of offences, such as rape or sexual relationships with minors, remained high.  She paid tribute to the peacekeepers who gave their lives in service.

Right of Reply

Speaking in exercise of the right of reply, the representative of Lebanon said that he had heard the representative of the Israeli delegation expressing his Government’s commitment to Security Council resolution 1701 (2006) and to UNIFIL.  “Maybe the occupying Government should match its actions with its words.”  Israel could do so by immediately withdrawing its troops from the remaining Lebanese lands it continued to occupy in the Shaba’a farmlands, Kafarshuba hills, and Al-Ghajar village and the adjacent area in South Lebanon.

Unfortunately, he said, none of the Israeli actions proved the claims of its representative in the Committee.  Israel continued to criticize UNIFIL and had in the past criticized its Commander for his proposal to end the Israeli occupation in Al-Ghajar.  In addition, Israel over the years, had threatened the safety and security of UNIFIL and the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) troops and positions, in a further demonstration of its lack of respect of international law and Security Council resolutions.  The Israeli occupation army in 1996 had attacked the quarters of UNIFIL in Qana, South Lebanon, killing hundreds of Lebanese civilians, mostly children and elderly who had been seeking refuge at the United Nations post from the Israeli “grapes of wrath” campaign.  Also in 2006, the same army had attacked a UNTSO post, also in South Lebanon, killing truce observers.  More recently, after the adoption of Security Council resolution 1701 (2006), Israel and its army had been intimidating UNIFIL troops.

He reiterated the full support of Lebanon and its people, especially in South Lebanon, to UNIFIL.  Lebanon was fully committed to the implementation of Security Council resolution 1701 (2006) and highly appreciated the important role UNIFIL played in South Lebanon, and fully recognized the grave sacrifices its staff suffered.  UNIFIL had been steadfast in its support of the Lebanese people in their efforts to liberate their lands from the Israeli occupation for more than 30 years.  UNIFIL was also Lebanon’s partner in mine clearance and in development efforts in South Lebanon.

All incidents of explosions south of the Litani River were dully investigated jointly by UNIFIL and the Lebanese Armed Forces, he noted.  The high level of cooperation extended by the Lebanese Armed Forces to UNIFIL had been recognized by several United Nations officials and the reports of the Secretary-General on the implementation of Security Council resolution 1701 (2006).

He said that the Israeli delegate had also mentioned Hizbullah, who was part of the National Unity Government of Lebanon.  He reminded the Committee that Hizbullah had not existed in 1978, when Israel had invaded Lebanon on a large scale, nor had it existed in 1982, when the Israeli occupation had reached the capital of Beirut.  Hizbullah was only a grass-roots resistance movement in defence of its country and a natural response to the Israeli occupation; just like other national resistance movements during times of occupation.

Those who levelled accusations of terrorism needed to be reminded of the history of the Israeli terror groups that committed massacres in Palestine and the highest level Israeli officials that were the subject of international arrest warrants as terrorists, he concluded.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.