New York: U.S President Barack Obama today announced that more than 50 countries have stepped up and promised to contribute 30,000 new troops and police for the United Nations peacekeeping operations and lauded UN chief Ban Ki-moon’s efforts to achieve zero tolerance policy against ‘abusive peacekeepers’.
Addressing the Leaders’ Summit on Peacekeeping, Obama thanked the international community for rising to the call of committing to world peace in such a significant way.
“Today we are here to together reform the peacekeeping body and together there is much more we need to do. I want to thank all of you. We are very proud that the International community has acted responsibly in such a way,” he said.
He also announced that the United States will double the troops, helicopters, training and defence articles for the peacekeeping operations.
“As the largest contributor to peacekeeping operations, I am issuing new US directives, double US officers. More than 50 countries are committing 30,000 new troops and police and they are stepping up with helicopters and medical units, this represents significant progress,” Obama said.
The US President, however, added that peace operations are not the solution to all problems and stressed on acknowledging that the ‘abuse’ by peacekeepers has to end.
This came in the wake of the UN being badly shaken by a string of sexual abuse claims targeting its peacekeepers, in particular in the Central African Republic where many of the 17 allegations involve underage victims as young as 11.
Ban Ki-moon had warned that he was ready to throw out entire peacekeeping units if their country fails to take action against soldiers accused of sexual abuse, according to reports.
The warning was among a series of measures unveiled by the UN chief at a meeting with the 124 countries that contribute troops and police to the UN peace missions worldwide.
“Mr Secretary General, we commend you for raising this issue. We have to ask for zero tolerance on this issue and we need to improve protection of civilians as the current guidelines are being implemented unevenly,” Obama added.
He assured that if the steps that he had announced were embraced, then it would strengthen the peace operations for the decades to come.
“The decision and the commitments that we make today can help ensure that our peacekeepers have success in their mission. I want to thank all of you for your partnership and the commitments that the nations are making here,” Obama said.
He reiterated his stand that the United States will remain a pillar of strength and a strong partner to the rest of the world in this mission.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will also address the summit. (ANI)