Thank you so much, Madam President. And I’d like to thank Under-Secretary-General Lacroix for convening the force commanders here this week. We think that this is an extremely valuable annual event, when the force commanders have a chance to come together and really discuss the challenges they face, and particularly in today’s environment where missions are facing greater and greater challenges. It’s important for them to be able to share experiences and best practices, so thank you for that. And thanks to the Polish presidency for convening this meeting today, where we are able to hear from these three great force commanders here. Your briefings are not only very important but I would like for you and all of your colleagues to convey how much the Council and the United States appreciates everything that the troops under you do, and all of the sacrifices made, and all of the dedication to duty.
As these challenges that I’ve mentioned that we have asked peacekeeping to address have grown, and the rate of peacekeeper fatalities is on the rise, it really is more important than ever to assess whether a peacekeeping mission is the right tool at the right time to confront any specific challenge to international peace and security.
We, the United States, have expressed our strong support for the UN to raise the bar on performance in UN peacekeeping by institutionalizing a culture of performance, starting with the development and implementation of a comprehensive performance policy that identifies transparent standards for performance and detailed measures to hold underperformers accountable.
But performance alone is not sufficient. In April of last year, Ambassador Haley articulated a set of principles to this Council to guide our review of peacekeeping missions as their mandates come up for renewal. And I think that these principles are actually a good prism through which to look at mandates, but not only that, they are a reflection really of our collective discussions in the Council. And a lot of what I’ve heard from Council members here today can be reflected in these principles.
These would be: that peacekeeping missions must support the achievement of political solutions; missions must have host country cooperation; exit strategies must be clearly articulated; and mandates must be realistic and achievable.
Where these conditions are not present, we must carefully consider whether the current mandates still make sense, how the Council should adjust those mandates, and whether there are alternative, more appropriate tools to settle the conflict.
So, I have just a few questions I would like to ask the force commanders that have briefed today, with those principles in mind – a larger, philosophical view on peacekeeping and how your mission fits into that prism.
Specifically on MINUSMA, is MINUSMA’s mandate realistic and achievable? You have a particularly difficult mission. And if not, which tasks – knowing that you’re a General and you’ll move forward with whatever tasks we give you – which tasks do you feel are really not achievable?
On UNMISS, in particular, do you believe that the peacekeepers in your mission are operationally prepared to meet mission requirements – particularly with regard to protection of civilians? And what do you think that your mission would need to achieve operational readiness? The operation readiness question is one we could probably ask about all missions, and I welcome force commanders’ comments on the question of what you need to achieve full operational readiness.
And finally, does the security situation in Darfur necessitate a strong military force presence or could police, for example, assume a more robust role?
And with those questions, I once again thank the presidency for convening this meeting. Thank you, very much.