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23 January 2009 - Security Council - Peacekeeping Operations - Statement made by H.E. Mr. Jean-Maurice Ripert, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations

(UN translation)

First of all, I would like to thank Mr. Le Roy, Ms. Malcorra and Mr. Annabi for participating in this debate. At the very least, that demonstrates their clear desire to work with the Security Council to further improve peacekeeping procedures. In addition, along with the representative of Turkey, I too would like to say how much we cherish those who have died in the service of peace.

At the outset, I would like to say just how pleased I am that it has been possible to hold this meeting, just a few months following David Miliband’s urgent appeal to the Secretary-General for a fresh process of reflection here in the Security Council. It seems to us a promising development indeed.

I should also like to reiterate France’s great commitment to strengthening United Nations peacekeeping capacities. Given that we will soon have deployed about 1,800 very well-equipped men in Blue Helmets to peacekeeping operations, especially in Lebanon and Chad, France is no doubt a significant contributor. That is especially the case when one considers the troops and contributions we have provided to operations under United Nations mandates.

France’s annual financial contributions to United Nations operations easily surpass €1 billion. Beyond those numbers, we are especially committed to peacekeeping, both because it is one the main responsibilities of the United Nations and because the lives of millions of men, women and children depend upon such operations, to say nothing of the survival and reconstruction of entire regions of the planet.

France has always advocated improving the outstanding tool that peacekeeping operations constitute. We welcome the improvements that have already been made, especially thanks to the exemplary cooperation between the Secretariat and the States members of the Council and the General Assembly, and especially the members of the Fifth Committee. We also welcome the establishment of the Department of Field Support, about whose progress and hopes Ms. Malcorra has told us. On the military front, we welcome, inter alia, the establishment of the Strategic Military Cell and the increase in the number of staff in the Office of Military Affairs. In addition, we welcome the improvement in the Council’s practices — with the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, just a few weeks ago, as well as with the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad — with regard to the development of mandates and the monitoring of operations through the establishment of benchmarks. The European Union has also always been among the strongest supporters of the United Nations when it has required support. I am thinking in particular of the cases of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Chad and Kosovo. My colleague from the Czech Republic will soon make a statement on behalf of the European Union, and I fully associate myself with that. There is, of course, still a long way to go. That is why we have launched this joint initiative with the United Kingdom today. John Sawers has correctly outlined it and highlighted our expectations and the British and French positions on the issue.

I would merely like, at this stage, to make a few comments prompted by the statements already made by my colleagues.

It seems to me that there is a clear awareness here of the magnitude of the questions that we must deal with and of our collective will to tackle them. I note that the questions raised in the French and British non-paper have been raised on numerous occasions and seem to be concerns shared by all of the members of the Council. In particular, these include greater involvement of the Council in the planning, follow-up and evaluation of peacekeeping operations at the strategic and technical levels; the strengthening of dialogue and exchanges of information with the Secretariat; the strengthening of the military expertise of the Council; and improvement in the drafting and development of mandates; better management of available resources in thinking about alternatives to troop deployments; substituting civilian for military means whenever possible; the capacity for reducing and then closing operations; and a better use of instruments other than peacekeeping operations to manage crisis exit strategies, for example within the Peacebuilding Commission.

We must now define better integrated missions for peacekeeping operations with overall coherence. Having worked on the comprehensive reform of the system and defined the concept of “One United Nations”, I believe we now need to work on the concept of “One mission”.

I also note the very clear will of the Council to have its own practices evolve, together with the Secretariat, in the preparation, follow-up and evaluation of operations in the field.

Finally, this discussion also demonstrates, I believe, the critical importance of the various stakeholders in peacekeeping and peacebuilding: the troop-contributing countries, the financial donors and the various existing forums for dialogue, including the Fifth Committee, the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations and the Peacebuilding Commission.

The particularly important role of regional organizations is also a subject of consensus. We need to better define the modalities for intervention in cooperation with the Council. The essential element in achieving that is to draw up a transparent and inclusive process, conducted in cooperation with all key partners. It is to several of such partners that I would now, in my capacity as President of the Council, like to give the floor.

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Organisation des Nations Unies Présidence de la République France Diplomatie La France à l'Office des Nations Unies à Genève Union Européenne Première réunion de l'ONU