Remarks at a UN Security Council Briefing on UN Peacekeeping Operations (via VTC)

Ambassador Kelly Craft
Permanent Representative
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
June 4, 2020


Thank you, Nicolas. And thank you to the Force Commanders for your briefings and for your service. I would like to offer my condolences to the families of the two MINUSMA peacekeepers who died of COVID-19 last week. The United States greatly appreciates the sacrifice of all UN peacekeeping personnel continuing to maintain peace and security amidst COVID-19, and we commend all the force commanders for their leadership during this crisis.

The pandemic has challenged UN peacekeeping missions in new and unforeseen ways, including through suspended troop rotations, restrictions on movement of personnel and equipment, the need for quarantine and isolation facilities, and access issues in countries such as South Sudan. Force Commanders have re-prioritized mandate implementation while dealing with movement restrictions on troops. But even in the face of these challenges, we fully expect accountability for the performance of both uniformed and civilian personnel.

We continue to champion UN Security Council Resolution 2436, which calls for clear, objective performance standards for all UN peacekeeping personnel; measures to address underperformance; and incentives and recognition for outstanding performance. We look forward to its full implementation and are eager to learn more about the ways Force Commanders hold their troops accountable for performance. An accountability mechanism applicable to uniformed and civilians, and in line with an integrated performance policy framework, will be crucial.

As General dos Santos Cruz noted in his report, accountability contributes to the safety and to the security of peacekeepers. We support 2518 and underline the importance of safety and security of peacekeepers. The Resolution highlights the strong correlation between the safety and security of peacekeepers and a culture of performance and accountability.

Regarding MINUSMA, we appreciate the tireless efforts we have seen to prioritize troop performance and hold poor performers accountable. We also commend the Force Commander’s drive to maximize his TCC capabilities through the development of the MINUSMA Force Adaptation Plan.

The success of this plan is dependent on getting the right TCCs for the job, and the recent force generation conference is a positive step in this direction. We continue to encourage member states to pledge more highly specialized units, as well as the necessary enablers, such as helicopters, medical capabilities, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets.

We believe it is important that troop contributing countries clearly convey any caveats prior to deployment, and to commit to full operational transparency. In the wake of attacks on peacekeepers, what actions is the MINUSMA Force Commander taking to ensure the safety and security of the peacekeepers?

Turning to UNMISS, we welcome the force commander’s work to increase UNMISS Force presence through the “hub and spoke” strategy, which has increased field-level engagement and presence in identified hot spots. We welcome UNMISS engagement in facilitating freedom of movement for civilians in areas of conflict, but we do still remain concerned about the impact of reduced patrolling. How has the confirmation of COVID-19 cases at some of the Protection of Civilian sites affected your operations and how are you communicating the dangers of COVID-19 to internally displaced persons?
And finally, with respect to UNDOF, we appreciate the continued work of acting Force Commander Brigadier General Maureen O’Brien during this pandemic. We also express our full support for the Secretary-General’s appointment of Major General Ishwar Hamal as Head of Mission and Force Commander, and we look forward to his arrival at the Mission. This Council has voiced its unanimous support for the full return of operations on the Bravo side as well as the need for the resumption of inspections in the Bravo Area of Limitations. What is UNDOF’s plan for the resumption of inspections in the Bravo Area of Limitations?

Thank you so much.