Saturday, June 2, 2018

UN chief vows to strengthen peacekeeping missions

UN chief vows to strengthen peacekeeping missions
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday said the world body is working hard to make peacekeeping stronger, safer and more effective.

Speaking at the Dag Hammarskjold Medal Ceremony, Guterres said, "Peacekeeping has become increasingly dangerous and our peacekeepers are being targeted more and more frequently."

The UN chief presented medals to 128 men and women who lost their lives while serving UN peacekeeping missions.

Last year, 61 peacekeepers were killed in attacks -- the highest number in a quarter century, many more died in accidents or from sickness, he noted, adding some peacekeeping missions bore a disproportionate share of the fatalities, with the mission in Mali topping the chart (42 peacekeeper fatalities).

"Coming from Mali, seeing the number of terrorist groups and criminal organisations operating in the territory where our peacekeepers are, it is clear for me that we need peacekeepers that are well-trained, well-prepared, well-equipped, well-supported," Guterres said, referring to his recent visit to the mission in Mali to mark the International Day of UN Peacekeepers.

He said he is committed to working together in strong partnership with UN member states to meet the challenge in this regard.

Guterres also offered condolences to the families of the "fallen" peacekeepers on behalf of the UN family at the ceremony.

The Dag Hammarskjold Medal Ceremony is part of the memorial activities taking place at the UN premises on Friday to mark the 70th anniversary of the UN peacekeeping.

Hammarskjold served as the second UN secretary-general from 1953 until his death in a plane crash in 1961 en route to a cease-fire negotiation.

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