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International Day of UN Peacekeepers,
29 May 2010

General Assembly President's Message

Today we gather in remembrance and to pay homage to the United Nations peacekeepers who have laid down their lives in the cause of international peace and security. We also pay tribute and express our gratitude to the hundreds of thousands of blue helmets who have served over the years and who continue to serve under the United Nations flag with great distinction, professionalism, dedication and courage. With honour and selfless devotion to duty, these men and women have stabilized situations, maintained peace and brought hope for a better future to millions of people afflicted by conflict around the world.

This important work and achievements come with great sacrifice. 2010 has been a particularly tragic year for UN peacekeepers and for the UN family as a whole. The devastating earthquake of 12 January in Haiti also claimed the lives of 96 UN peacekeepers, the largest ever loss of UN staff in the history of the Organization.

Yet, in the face of great adversity, UN peacekeepers in Haiti continue to shoulder their responsibility and work tirelessly to help Haiti and its people in the recovery efforts. Some 9000 personnel in uniform are currently providing security, clearing roads, conducting patrols, helping to restore basic services to the Haitian people, and much more. Thanks to the courageous efforts of our peacekeepers in Haiti, there is hope and opportunity to recover and rebuild from a catastrophe of such proportions.

The evolving nature of peacekeeping, with complex multi-dimensional mandates, has posed significant challenges of planning, deployment and management of peacekeeping operations. Peacekeeping needs to be employed strategically, with clear and achievable mandates backed by adequate resources, within the context of a comprehensive approach for sustainable peace and development.

The success of this endeavour undoubtedly depends on the political will and support of Member States. Crucial and invaluable in this regard are the contribution and steadfast commitment of the Troop Contributing Countries. On this occasion therefore we should collectively reaffirm the high priority that must be accorded to the safety and security of United Nations peacekeepers in the field. This is the minimum that we must do for our peacekeepers. While remembering our heroes, the blue helmets, let us also renew our commitment to the noble objectives of UN peacekeeping, and to the common objective of strengthening the overall peacekeeping capacity to ensure its continued success.

H.E. Dr. Ali Abdussalam Treki
President of the 64th session
of the UN General Assembly

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