Statement by Prime Minister Erna Solberg on UN peacekeeping operations, United Nations, New York, 28 September 2015.
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Thank you, Mr President, for taking this initiative together with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at a time when UN peacekeepers are in stronger demand than ever before.
We need to strengthen the UN in its role as the global peace provider. We need to modernise UN peacekeeping operations to enable them to meet new security challenges. We must strengthen the UN’s ability to protect civilians. And we need to better ensure the safety and security of UN personnel.
We must join forces to implement the extensive reform agenda set out by the Secretary-General. More effective, efficient and responsive operations are essential.
Norway will continue its support for and provide important contributions to UN peace operations.
UN peace operations are often conducted in difficult environments. Challenging security situations, poor infrastructure and vast distances complicate operations in many areas, such as Mali. We will deploy one of our four Hercules transport aircraft to the UN operation in Mali for 10 months in 2016. We will also extend the provision of camp facilities for the headquarters of the intelligence unit in MINUSMA for another ten months.
In Afghanistan, our ISAF troops faced asymmetrical warfare and terrorist attacks. Regrettably, these threats are becoming increasingly common in UN operations as well. This shows the need for more robust UN contributions. We will consider the possibility of deploying a Combat Engineer Unit with counter-IED capabilities to a UN mission, most likely in Mali, in 2017.
We will also provide a team of police experts on criminal investigation, intelligence or transnational organised crime for a UN operation.
Just a year ago, Major General Kristin Lund became the first woman ever to serve as force commander in a UN peacekeeping operation. She is a great inspiration. Norway will continue to promote the active participation of women in all aspects of peacekeeping.
The African Union plays a key role as the UN’s regional partner. We will strengthen our engagement with the AU on capacity building for civilian peacekeeping. We will also consider extending our support to military capacity building of the East African Standby Force.
UN peace operations are crucial to the maintenance of international peace and security. Norway is strongly committed to ensuring that they maintain this key position.