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Core values of UN peacekeeping must be upheld: FM

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Staff reporter
Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali on Tuesday said the UN should exercise utmost caution in moving from the traditional mandate of UN peacekeeping operations to an interventionist mode.
He made the remark while addressing the inaugural session of a two-day Asia Regional Consultations on UN High-level Panel on Peace Operations at the conference hall of Kurmitola Golf Club.
Chair of the UN High-level Independent Panel, Jose Ramos-Horta, Principal Staff Officer, Armed Forces Division (AFD), Abu Belal Muhammad Shafiul Huq and Senior Home Secretary Dr M Mozammel Haque Khan were also present.
The Foreign Minister said the core values of UN peacekeeping, including the principles of consent, impartiality, and non-use of force except in self-defence, which is rooted in the UN Charter, must be upheld and cherished by all.
He said the security of peacekeepers remains an issue of utmost concern and the High-level Panel should consider suggestions to ensure peacekeepers’ safety and security, including through legally binding provisions for prosecuting, penalising and neutralising any non-governmental armed groups causing, or threatening to cause, harm to UN peacekeepers.
Mahmood Ali mentioned that the Asian countries have a unique mix of major troops and finance contributing countries to UN Peacekeeping Operations.
“In fact, the Asia Pacific region accounts for almost 40 percent of troops and 33 percent of police deployed in UN Peacekeeping Missions around the world,” he added.
At present, nearly 41,000 Asian peacekeepers have their valiant footprints in a number of conflict situations, often in challenging and volatile environments.
Such intensive engagements over the years have invested the Asian countries with rare insights into the vicissitudes of UN Peace Operations.
Asian countries will share their diverse experience of adapting to the evolving, complex and multi-dimensional scenario of UN Peace Operations during the two-day event.
The Foreign Minister also said the Asian countries have made their mark in UN Peace Operations due to the value-driven agenda they pursue in their respective foreign policies to contribute to international peace and security.
Most Asian countries have endured protracted conflicts, especially against their colonizers and illegal occupiers, and had the experience of rebuilding their nations from the ashes of wars. “Those episodes of pain, loss and agony, even when they culminated in victory, remain vivid in the Asian psyche.”
He said those haunting legacies continue to motivate the Asian nations to reach out to the rest of the world, wherever there is a conflict, with the messages of peace, protection and reconciliation.
As a UN Security Council member in 1999-2000, Bangladesh had the opportunity to remain closely involved with the adoption of the UNSC Resolution 1327 that crystallized the Brahimi Panel’s recommendations into an agreed set of decisions.
In retrospect, it becomes apparent how critical those decisions were in the prevailing context, and how they went on to shape up the substance and contour of UN Peace Operations in the following years.