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General News of Saturday, 30 May 2015

Source: GNA

Gov't to review peacekeeping operations - Hannah Tetteh

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ms Hannah Tetteh has said government is considering a review of the country’s involvement in peacekeeping operations to ensure effective participation and minimise risks.

She stated that government is also committed to improve the logistical needs of peacekeepers in order to protect and empower them to discharge their duties effectively.

Speaking at the commemoration of the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers day in Accra, Ms Tetteh said: “To this end, an inter-ministerial committee has been constituted to review Ghana’s participation in peacekeeping operations.”

In Ghana, the day was observed under theme: “UN 70 and Ghana in peacekeeping: past, present and future,” to acknowledge the contribution of Ghana to the UN over the 70-year period and her role in global peacekeeping.

The Foreign Affairs Minister said government is making efforts to ensure that Ghanaian peacekeepers have the technological expertise and state-of-the-art equipment required in all peacekeeping operations.

Ms Tetteh said Ghana remains resolute in its commitment to the United Nations as a partner for peace.

“With professionalism and dedication as the hallmark of our military, police and prisons personnel, Ghana shall continue to be a dependable partner of the UN in its continuing search for world peace and security,” she noted.

Sharing the UN Secretary General message on the day, Ms Christine Evans-Klock, UN Resident Coordinator said UN peacekeeping has given life to the UN Charter’s aim “to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security”.

This year’s International Day of UN Peacekeepers during the 70th anniversary of the UN offers a chance to honour the invaluable contribution of the Blue Helmets to the proud history of the UN, she said.

Ms Evans-Klocks noted that through years of struggle and sacrifice, the iconic Blue Helmet has earned its place as a symbol of hope to millions of people living in war-ravaged lands.

UN peacekeeping fosters burden sharing that spreads risks and opportunities across countries large and small, and from both the developed and developing worlds.

“I applaud the more than 107,000 uniformed peacekeepers from 122 troops- and police- contributing countries now serving in 16 missions,” she said.

Ms Evans-Klocks said the UN needs better funding, training and equipment.

She said: “Our troops and police must carry out ever more complex mandates while being held to the highest standards of conduct.

“We need developed countries to resume their historically influential role as contributors of troops.

“And we need stronger political support from the Member States that are responsible for authorising financing and contributing troops and police to the missions.”

More than 3,300 peacekeepers have lost their lives while serving under the UN flag, including 126 last year, according to the UN.

The risks continue to grow as peacekeepers are targeted by improvised explosive devises or complex terrorist attacks, it said.

Four wreaths were laid for four fallen peacekeepers from Ghana who lost their lives in 2014.

The four will be posthumously honoured with the Dag Hammarskjöld medal in New York.

The UN flag and the Ghana flag were hoisted in honour of fallen peacekeepers and those who have contributed to peacekeeping operations.