The United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations has this week signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Sri Lanka to “speed up the provision of resources to the UN when necessary,” the Spokesperson to the UN Secretary-General said Wednesday.
Responding to a query on the agreement at the daily press briefing, Martin Nesirky, the spokesperson for the UN Chief said it was a routine agreement, which the UN has already signed with 89 other Member States.
The agreement, according to the spokesperson, identifies the kind of equipment and the type of personnel which the Government of Sri Lanka would provide for peacekeeping operations in future.
The agreement is meant to speed up the provision of resources to the UN when that is necessary, he added.
Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Dr. Palitha Kohona has signed the MoU on behalf of Sri Lanka in the presence of Ambassador, Major General Shavendra Silva who has directed the military operations against the Tamil Tiger terrorist organisation, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in 2009.
When asked whether there was any concern over the signing of a peace keeping agreement while a military officer alleged of war crimes by the UN Chief’s Panel of Experts present, the spokesperson said the primary responsibility of ensuring that nationals of Member States meet the highest standard of integrity required for services with the UN clearly lies with Member States themselves.
“We insist with Member States that they should contribute personnel that have not committed human rights violations,” Nesirky said adding that the UN carries out individual screening for uniformed personnel deployed as senior military or police personnel staff officers or experts on mission.
Sri Lanka is a committed partner for UN peacekeeping operations with a total of 1,215 men and women from the three Armed Forces and the Police serving in seven different Peacekeeping Missions.
The Sri Lankan Cabinet earlier this year approved a proposal to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the United Nations Stand-By Arrangement System (UNSAS) to increase Sri Lanka’s participation in UN peacekeeping operations.
Following the defeat of Tamil Tiger terrorists in May 2009, Sri Lanka says its Armed Forces and the Police are now in a position to enhance their contribution to the UN Peacekeeping Forces. (www.colombopage.com)