U.N. countries pledge 40,000 peacekeepers

Salvadoran members of the United Nations peacekeepers and army soldiers march in the parade commemorating Soldiers' Day in San Salvador, El Salvador on May 7, 2011. (AP)

U.S. President Barack Obama announced on Monday more than 50 countries have pledged some 40,000 peacekeepers for possible deployment on United Nations missions, as well as helicopters, medical units and training and equipment to deal with roadside bombs.

Obama chaired a summit of world leaders at the United Nations to garner commitments to boost the capacity and capabilities of U.N. peacekeeping and to allow the world body to deploy forces more rapidly if a new operation is created.

"Our goal should be to make every new peace operation more efficient and more effective than the last," Obama said.

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, said in addition to some 40,000 new troops and police, more than 50 countries had pledged to provide more than 40 helicopters, 15 military engineering companies and 10 field hospitals.

China biggest committer

China made one of the biggest commitments. President Xi Jinping pledged to set up a "permanent peacekeeping police squad and build a peacekeeping standby force of 8,000 troops."

Amid a stream of allegations of misconduct and sexual abuse by U.N. peacekeepers in Central African Republic, U.S. officials say the surplus troops will also allow the United Nations to exercise more discretion with its 16 current missions.

"The overwhelming number of peacekeepers serve with honor and decency in extraordinarily difficult situations. But we have seen some appalling cases of peacekeepers abusing civilians ... and that is totally unacceptable," Obama said.

According to the U.N. website, the United States provides 82 of the more than 106,500 people deployed on U.N. peacekeeping missions: 34 troops, 42 police and six military advisers. But Washington pays for more than 28 percent of the more than $8.2 billion U.N. peacekeeping budget.

The top five troop- and police-contributing countries to U.N. peacekeeping missions are Bangladesh, Ethiopia, India, Pakistan and Rwanda. They all made further pledges at Monday's summit.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:46 - GMT 06:46
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