Statement by Mr. Fazlı Çorman, Deputy Permanent Representative of Turkey to the United Nations, at the Security Council Open Debate on UN Peacekeeping Operations

Fazlı Çorman 05.08.2009
Mr. President,

First of all let me thank you for organizing today's open debate. It is indeed a very timely one.

I also wish to thank the Under-Secretaries-General Mr. Alain Le Roy and Ms. Susana Malcorra, as well as General Martin Luther Agwai for their useful and thought-provoking briefings. General Agwai's sharing of his first-hand experiences on the ground, in particular, was most enlightening and helpful.

I would also like to take this opportunity to salute all the UN Force Commanders who are with us today and through them express our heartfelt gratitude to all the men and women who serve peace under their blue berets in some of the most dangerous parts of the world. Our hearts and prayers are always with them.

But I know they want more than that. And rightly so. They need a more efficient peacekeeping system that provides them with the necessary mandate, guidance and resources. A system, which duly honors the heroism of the UN peacekeepers who put their lives in the line of duty day in and night out.

And this is indeed why we are here. For the last eight months since the launch of the joint French-UK initiative, we have been extensively discussing several aspects of the peacekeeping reform in various fora. And we believe it is now time to take stock of what has been said and done so far with a view to charting a practical way forward.

To date, what came out of our discussions in no ambiguous terms is a wide consensus on the need to reform the way we run our peacekeeping operations in the UN. There has been an explicit agreement among all that the whole UN peacekeeping system is plagued by serious problems and that it is stretched to the point where the risk of failure has become intolerable.

It was also unmistakably clear that the peacekeeping operations are seen as the showcase of the UN's efforts to advance the ideals and principles enshrined in its Charter. And thus what is at stake is the credibility of the UN itself with enormous implications on whether we will or not be able to deliver the promises of this organization in the future.

What was even more striking throughout this review process is that there was also a broad agreement on what needs to be done too. The previous open debate organized in June under our own Presidency of the Council, for instance, brought out those points of convergence in a most lucid manner.

In principle terms, everyone concurred

- that we need earlier and more meaningful consultations with troop and police contributing countries,

- that we should engage and encourage the regional organizations, notably the African Union, to assume a greater role in peacekeeping and help them strengthen their capacities,

- that we have to come up with clear and achievable mandates, matched by necessary resources and driven by existing capabilities,

- that we ought to improve the level of information and analysis available to us about the operational environment, in particular the military advise,

- that we must make better use of benchmarks to monitor the progress and to make the necessary adjustments along the way,

- that we should always have a political strategy to guide us in a way that will prevail over all the efforts of the international community including the peacekeeping operations,

- that we must have a holistic and robust approach to peace, integrating peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding into one single strategy, including the protection of civilians,

- and that we need to invest more on preventive measures, including mediation, so as to settle the conflicts through pacific means.

Yet, what was and is still missing are the practical steps that will help translate this collective understanding and commitment into a renewed and more effective partnership drawing together the strengths of all stakeholders.

This is why we greatly welcome the paper prepared by the Secretariat, which proposes a new partnership agenda with a view to charting a new horizon for UN peacekeeping.

Frankly speaking we are still examining the paper and its recommendations. But what we like about it is its practical and action-oriented nature. Thus, we are confident that it will provide us with the necessary momentum and the framework to build upon our next steps.

For that, though, we the member states need to immediately start taking up each and every recommendation of the paper and see how we can put them into practice, or why not. In other words, the Secretariat gave us a rich menu of options and practical suggestions. It is now up to us to take them to the operational level.

And this exercise should be an all-inclusive one. Every major stakeholder, including the Security Council and its Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations, the C-34 Special Committee, the Fifth Committee of the General Assembly, the Peacebulding Commission and of course the Secretariat itself, all have a role to play. Or better, a responsibility to deliver.

As to the timeframe of this endeavor, on the other hand, we believe we can and we should aim at early next year to put in place at least the initial and most essential elements of this new undertaking.

Indeed, 2010 will mark the tenth anniversary of the Brahimi Report, as well as the culmination of the "Peace Operations 2010" reform process. There is now a chance for us to make the year 2010 a milestone for the UN peacekeeping operations. We should not lose this window of opportunity.

Turkey is ready and willing to take an active part in this important enterprise. As a traditional troop and police contributing country to the UN and other international peace operations, we know by heart the difficulties encountered in the UN peacekeeping system. And we will do our best to help bring about a new and result-oriented consensus on UN peacekeeping.

Finally, we thank the UK Delegation for preparing the draft Presidential Statement for this meeting, which we fully support.

Thank you.