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26 June 2013 - Security Council - UN Peacekeeping Operations - Statement by Mr. Philippe Bertoux, Political Counsellor of France to the United Nations

(UN translation)

We welcome these now regular exchanges between peacekeeping representatives and the Security Council, one of the chief results of the Franco-British initiative of 2009. We thank the Force Commanders of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the United Nations Mission in Liberia and the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire for their briefings. Their vision for operations on the ground is essential to informing our thinking.

Peacekeeping operations are one of the emblematic United Nations activities. While their number and complexity is constantly growing, we continue to plead for strengthening military expertise, improving the Council’s cooperation with troop-and police-contributing countries and for keeping a better grip on the cost of peacekeeping operations. We therefore support the guidelines of the High-level Working Group on Programme Criticality, which is trying to reconcile cost management with the effectiveness of peacekeeping operations.

I would first like to recall France’s commitment to strengthening United Nations peacekeeping capacities. France has about 1,000 men and women participating in seven of the 15 peacekeeping operations. Beyond our direct contribution, we are also deploying about 10,000 men and women in various external theatres of operations mandated by the Council and conducted or directed by the European Union, NATO or by us in our national capacity. We support the participation in peacekeeping operations of some African States through networks of national regional vocational schools, teaching technical and operational know-how adapted to the needs and personnel of African forces. We also participate alongside European partners in the EURORECAMP programme, where we first initiated the concept of African peacekeeping capacity-building in 1997.

I would now like to offer some reactions to the Force Commanders’ briefings.

We support all initiatives designed to achieve the optimal instruction and regular training of contingents before or during their deployment. The changes of the past 10 years — the fight against impunity and, in some cases, mandates for peacekeeping operations on working to arrest people sought by the International Criminal Court in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Mali, the protection of civilians, special vigilance regarding sexual violence — all require adapted training.

We welcome the efforts of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations to establish operational standards and provide troop-contributing countries with training manuals to allow them to deploy troops capable of accomplishing the ever-more-complex tasks given to peacekeeping operations. The recent example of the generic United Nations Infantry Battalion Manual gives troop-contributing countries a solid basis for providing more effective peacekeeping forces. I would like to stress in particular the importance of training contingents on human rights, as well as to take this opportunity to express our full support for the policies put forward by the Secretary-General in that regard, in particular the due diligence policy, which was taken into consideration by the Council in its establishment of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).

With regard to the use of modern technologies in peacekeeping operations, we welcome the experimental tactical use of surveillance drones that will soon begin in the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO). We await with great interest the Department of Peacekeeping Operations evaluation of this initial experimental phase in terms of the potential future deployment of such technology in the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) and the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS). These systems are excellent force multipliers that help to enhance the effectiveness of peacekeeping operations in the context of limited resources. Other avenues should also be explored, especially in the area of helicopters, where modern technologies can allow for fuel savings to be made and significantly improve flight safety.

Finally, when unexpected events threaten to destabilize a country, inter-mission cooperation, as the UNOCI Force Commander set out in his briefing, can be an adaptive and effective response to provide timely reinforcements in terms of troops and materials to missions in need. Such cooperation is a flexible mechanism, whose effectiveness has been proved in West Africa, between UNOCI and the United Nations Mission in Liberia; in East Africa, where MONUSCO helicopters can be temporarily deployed to UNMISS; and in the Middle East, where the rapid deployment of the United Nations Supervision Mission in the Syrian Arab Republic was possible only due to the logistics support of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon and the redeployment of military observers, civilian personnel, equipment and vehicles from other Missions.

In that regard, I would like to ask the UNOCI Force Commander what specific steps have been taken within UNOCI to support the deployment of MINUSMA. This question takes up that posed by the representative of Australia. More broadly, what are the regional possibilities for ongoing cooperation between Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire and Mali for United Nations peacekeeping operations in West Africa?

In conclusion, I commend the commitment of peacekeepers of all nationalities, some of whom even pay with their lives for their dedication to peace. France pays tribute to them.

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Organisation des Nations Unies Présidence de la République France Diplomatie La France à l'Office des Nations Unies à Genève Union Européenne Première réunion de l'ONU