Peacekeeping operations in Africa remain high priority for the Trump administration, senior U.S. officials say Updated for 2021

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Updated: March 5, 2021


Peacekeeping operations in Africa remain a priority for the Trump administration, two senior U.S. officials said during a telephonic press briefing on Tuesday, ahead of the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers on Wednesday.

Michael Smith and Jennifer Pulliam, director and deputy director, respectively, of the U.S. State department Bureau of political-military affairs, office of the global programs and initiatives, briefed journalists on the U.S. support for global peacekeeping operations.

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“I would say, on average, about half of our annual budget supports are African troop contributing partners deploying into African peacekeeping missions.  And much of the budget that we provide to other regional partners is in support of their deployment into the missions in Africa.  So certainly those operations remain a priority for the U.S. Government,” Pulliam said.

on average, about half of our annual budget supports are African troop contributing partners deploying into African peacekeeping missions – Jennifer Pulliam

According to director Smith, the United States Government remains dedicated to peacekeeping capacity building under the Trump administration.

“In fact, we have found that our funding to support peacekeeping operations in terms of capacity building has been very, very strong and without any diminution at all.  So we find that to be very encouraging for us at this time,” Smith added when asked whether President Trump’s talking point that he is the United States President and not the President of the world had impacted peacekeeping missions and fundings.

We have found that our funding to support peacekeeping operations in terms of capacity building has been very, very strong and without any diminution at all – Michael Smith

Smith who spoke ahead of the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers on Wednesday said the United States honors the men and women serving under the flag of the United Nations with the mission of peace. 

“That mission, which dates back approximately 71 years, is central to the purpose of the United Nations and indispensable to peace and security on the globe.  The demand for peacekeepers is at an all-time high.  Nearly 113,000 UN peacekeepers from over 124 countries serve the cause of peace.  Nearly two-thirds of them operate in conflict areas under robust and demanding mandates, often at tremendous risk to themselves.  This risk is underscored by the fact that more than 3,800 peacekeepers have lost their lives serving under the UN flag since 1948, including 98 last year,” he said.

The first UN peacekeeping mission was established on May 29th, 1948, when the Security Council authorized the deployment of a small number of UN military observers to the Middle East to form the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization, or UNTSO, to monitor the armistice agreement between Israel and its Arab neighbors. 

Since then, more than one million men and women have served in 72 UN peacekeeping operations, directly impacting the lives of millions of people, protecting the world’s most vulnerable, and saving countless lives.

“Courage, bravery, selfless service, and sacrifice are just a few words used to capture the aggregate character of these great women and men.  Drawing from this history, the theme for this year’s International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers is “Protecting Civilians, Protecting Peace.”  As the demand for peacekeeping has grown in recent years, so have the demands placed on those missions, including crucial evolution and mandates to incorporate the protection of civilians,” Smith added.

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Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba covers the White House, the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions for Today News Africa in Washington D.C. Simon can be reached on simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com

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