July 17, 2013

UN cites RP peacekeepers

Posted by Online on Jul 15th, 2013 // No Comment

The United Nations (UN) has praised the Philippines for supporting its peacekeeping operations and agreed to enhance the self-defense capabilities of the troops to ensure their safety in conflict-torn places.

UN peacekeeping operations chief Hervé Ladsous assured that the UN will work with stakeholders “to provide what is needed” after recognizing the concerns raised by the Philippine government about the safety and security of its peacekeeping contingent in the Golan Heights, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. del Rosario met Ladsous and other key UN officials to lay down three “conditionalities” by the Philippines on the continued engagement of its peacekeeping forces. The meeting was held at the UN headquarters in New York City last July 12.

The conditions included the procurement of defense weapons for peacekeepers by October as well as the use of six-month rotation in the deployment of Filipino peacekeepers.

“Under-Secretary General Ladsous, for his part, commended the Philippines’ contribution to UN peacekeeping operations and particularly its engagement with UNDOF (United Nations Disengagement Observer Force) in the Golan Heights, saying that UNDOF contributes to security and stability in the Middle East region,” the DFA said in a statement.

“Under-Secretary Ladsous conveyed understanding of the Philippines’ position and agreed that providing more robust self-defense capabilities for UNDOF personnel would be vital to the success of the Mission,” the DFA added.

Ladsous committed that “the UN will be working with all stakeholders to provide what is needed, consistent with the Disengagement Agreement and its protocols,” according to the DFA.

In the meeting with Ladsous, Del Rosario identified the following conditionalities to keep the Filipino peacekeepers in the Golan Heights.

They are: The UN is able to deploy UNDOF’s mandated full troop strength of 1,250 by October 2013; the necessary equipment for the protection and defense of Filipino troops and other UNDOF are procured by October 2013; and the Philippines be allowed to deploy troops using a six-month rotation.

Del Rosario also informed the UN about President Benigno S. Aquino III’s decision to keep the Filipino peacekeepers in UNDOF until August 11 amid security concerns in the Golan Heights. (Genalyn D. Kabiling)

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