Leaders’ Summit on Peacekeeping – Statement by H.E. Maithripala Sirisena President of Sri Lanka – New York, 28 September 2015
October 1, 2015
Mr. President, Excellencies, Ladies & Gentlemen,
I thank you Mr. President, and also the Leaders of the countries that are co-hosting this Summit for convening this important meeting at a critical time in the evolution of UN peace keeping operations.
For over five decades, Sri Lanka has been making modest contributions to UN peacekeeping efforts.
We consider Sri Lanka’s cooperation with the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations as an extension of the Government’s policy of positive engagement with the UN following the Presidential Election in January this year.
Current contributions by Sri Lanka to UN Peacekeeping stand at 529 including troops, Military Observers and Civilian Police.
On this occasion, I affirm Sri Lanka’s commitment to increase its contribution to UN peacekeeping.
We are committed to ensuring the best possible training and assessment of peacekeepers in Sri Lanka to uphold the highest standards of peacekeeping.
UN peacekeeping operations have come a long way from its modest beginnings. Today they have evolved into complex operations. This is an occasion to focus our attention on some of the challenges facing current UN peacekeeping operations.
The report of the High Level Panel on Peace Operations identifies Protection of civilians as a core obligation of the UN. The report observed that UN personnel must use every tool available to them to protect civilians under imminent threat. Sri Lanka recently accepted the Kigali Principles on the Protection of Civilians in peacekeeping. We hope that more countries will join this initiative.
We also hope that this meeting will focus on the importance of providing more resources to Peacekeeping Missions to carry out their mandates.
Sri Lanka is pleased to reiterate our continued commitment to UN peacekeeping.
We are honoured to pledge significant contributions from the Sri Lanka Army, Air Force and Police.
In response to current gaps in UN peacekeeping Missions we are ready to pledge Two Combat Transport Companies and two Field Engineering platoons.
For commitments to enable more rapid deployment, we pledge one infantry battalion, two Special Force Companies, and one Combat Engineering Company.
For regular deployment, we are ready to pledge three Infantry Battalions, one Explosive Ordinance Disposal Company and one Force Protection Company.
In addition, we are ready to contribute two Formed Police Units.
The world today is a safer place because of the brace UN peacekeepers. On this occasion, let us remember and pay tribute to the hundreds of peacekeepers and staff who have sacrificed their lives in the line of duty over the years. Let us also recognize and commend their achievements.