I thank President Obama and the Co-chairs, for your enduring commitment to strengthening the UN peacekeeping system.
While peacekeeping is not mentioned specifically in the UN Charter, over the past 70 years more than one million “Blue Helmets” have deployed in a noble expression of the international community’s determination to bring peace and alleviate human suffering.
Australia stands proudly among them, demonstrating that we can be counted upon to help shoulder the burden, especially in our region.
Our troops were among the first ever UN peacekeepers – deploying in 1947 to monitor a ceasefire which helped pave the way for Indonesia’s independence.
In the 1990s and 2000s, we played prominent roles ushering in a new era of peace for the people of Cambodia and Timor-Leste.
We have worked with our neighbours to support regional peace operations in Bougainville in Papua New Guinea and in Solomon Islands.
Our commitment to collective security is underscored by our engagements further afield, in multinational operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and the Sinai.
We have provided over 65,000 personnel to more than 50 United Nations and other multinational peace operations since 1947.
More is being asked of United Nations peacekeepers than ever before.
Civilians are facing intolerable deprivations in places like the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali and in South Sudan, where Australian troops are currently serving.
The UN peacekeeping mission is being pushed to its limit.
If the institution of peacekeeping is to deliver on the tasks that we assign to it, then all member states must work together to ensure it has the capabilities to do so.
Australia has been a reliable contributor, but we are prepared to do more.
Therefore, I am pleased to announce Australia will use our C-130 Hercules and C-17 Globemaster aircraft to provide strategic air lift support for UN peacekeeping operations in crisis situations where and whenever we can.
We will work with INTERPOL to help better prepare our neighbours who contribute to peacekeeping operations to defeat the scourge of improvised explosive devices.
We will help train and educate soldiers and police in our region so they may contribute fully to peacekeeping operations.
Peace and security is often an elusive goal, however it should be our eternal pursuit.
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