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The US is looking to comprehensively review UN peacekeeping missions, saying the focus of such operations is too often on troop contributing or funding countries, and not on protecting civilians or achieving a political solution.
US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said UN peacekeeping operations is an area with great potential for reform and her approach in dealing with peacekeeping will be different when she assumes the rotating presidency of the 15-Nation Security Council in April.
"The goal of any UN peacekeeping mission should be to ensure that political solutions to conflicts are actually realised. But too often the focus of our peacekeeping efforts is on the troop contributing countries or the funding countries or the bureaucracy of the UN itself and not on protecting civilians and on achieving a political solution," Haley said during a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations thinktank here yesterday.
She said UN members have too often been bogged down in "parochial questions", spending a lot of time worrying about which country or bureaucracy benefits from the peacekeeping missions.
"We have worried about donor countries, troop supplying countries. We have missed the forest for the trees in peacekeeping operations altogether. During the US presidency, I intend to do something different," she said.
Haley stressed the US "will lay out a comprehensive vision for how peacekeeping missions should be reviewed moving forward. We will ask hard questions."
India has traditionally been among the largest troop contributing countries to UN peacekeeping operations, with nearly 180,000 troops having served in over 44 of the 69 peacekeeping operations so far. The country has repeatedly called for the Security Council to consult troop contributing countries before drawing up peacekeeping mandates given that troops now have to function in increasingly difficult and hostile conflict situations across the world's hotspots.
Haley also voiced support for cutting US contribution to peacekeeping and capping it at 25 per cent from the current rate of about 28 per cent.
"We need to go from 28 per cent to 25 per cent. That is something that will happen," she said. The United States is the biggest contributor to the United Nations, paying 22 percent of the $5.4 billion core budget and 28.5 percent of the $7.9 billion peacekeeping budget.
"We don't want to just cut for the sake of cutting.
Everybody knows there is fat at the UN, there is fat in the peacekeeping missions," she said.
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