UN chief stresses greater demand for peacekeeping

United Nations, Sep 29 (IANS) Challenging situations in war-torn areas in today’s world pose a greater demand for peacekeeping, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said.

Ban made the remarks on Monday while addressing a leaders’ summit on peacekeeping.

More than 120 countries currently contribute more than 125,000 troops, police and civilian personnel, and current UN missions operate 350 medical clinics, 167 helicopters, 70 aircraft and seven ships and more than 13,000 vehicles, Xinhua news agency quoted Ban as saying.

The numbers show peacekeeping’s value, but are also a sign of troubled times, Ban said, emphasising that the situations into which peacekeepers are deployed have never been more challenging.

“UN peacekeepers are sheltering 200,000 civilians in South Sudan. UN missions have never been designed to accommodate such a large number of refugees,” he said.

“We are monitoring a fragile peace agreement in Mali and working to prevent another outbreak of widespread violence in the Central African country,” he added.

In Lebanon, peacekeepers are a source of reassurance as the crisis deepens next door in Syria.

Ban highlighted four main needs — predictable and effective military capabilities, qualified police personnel, reinvigorating UN peacekeeping operations and solid political backing.

“The presence of so many leaders today, and the new pledges you are about to announce, represent an unprecedented collective commitment to strengthen UN peacekeeping,” Ban said.

“The leaders represent longstanding and new contributors, as well as all regions of the world. They are reaffirming — and indeed reinforcing — the truly universal nature of UN peacekeeping,” he added.

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