Spindelegger: “The protection of civilians as a core responsibility of peacekeeping missions”
Austria’s continued commitment is of great importance
Vienna, 29 May 2011 – “For five decades, peacekeeping missions have ranked among the most successful and effective means of international crisis management, fulfilling core tasks of the United Nations. Today, more than 120,000 soldiers, police officers and civilian experts are serving in the interests of peace and security – frequently under dangerous conditions. Austria is committed to its role as a reliable and competent partner of the United Nations and will continue to make an active contribution to safeguarding peace in crisis regions,” said Foreign Minister and Vice-Chancellor Michael Spindelegger to mark the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers on 29 May.
Traditionally, such missions focus on monitoring compliance with peace and ceasefire agreements. Today’s UN peacekeepers face tasks that are considerably more complex than they were in the early days of peacekeeping: “The failures in Srebrenica and Rwanda have clearly demonstrated the new demands of such missions. As a result, the protection of civilians has become an absolute priority of peacekeeping missions. With Resolution 1894, which was adopted by the Security Council in 2009 under Austria’s chair, Austria made a practical contribution to the support of peacekeepers in fulfilling their tasks for the protection of civilians in armed conflict.”
Since the beginning of its UN membership Austria has contributed to the provision of peacekeepers for international peace missions. Since 1960 over 90,000 Austrians have participated in peacekeeping and humanitarian missions. Today, more than 1,200 Austrians are active in peacekeeping missions, above all in the Balkans and the Middle East, with Austria planning to participate in the UN operation in Lebanon from 2012 onwards.
For further information, contact:
Federal Ministry for European
and International Affairs
Mag. Alexander Schallenberg
Spokesman of the Foreign Minister
Tel.: ++43 (0) 50 1150-3265
Fax: +43 (0) 535 50 91