U.S President Barack Obama has said that more than 50 countries have pledged some 40,000 peacekeepers for possible deployment on UN missions.
The pledge also includes donation of helicopters, medical units, training and equipment to deal with roadside bombs.
Obama made this known when he chaired a summit of world leaders at the UN to garner commitments to boost the capacity of UN peacekeeping and to empower the bloc to deploy forces more rapidly if a new operation was created.
“Our goal should be to make every new peace operation more efficient and more effective than the last,’’ Obama said.
Similarly, the U.S Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, said in addition to the 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 made one of the biggest commitments as 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 UN peacekeepers in Central African Republic, Obama said the surplus troops would also allow the bloc to exercise more discretion with its 16 current missions.
“The overwhelming numbers of peacekeepers serve with honour and decency in extraordinarily difficult situations.’’
“But we have seen some appalling cases of peacekeepers abusing civilians and that is totally unacceptable,’’ Obama said.
He further said that the U.S would work to double the number of military advisers that it contributes to UN peacekeeping, and offer logistical support, including air and sea lifts, and training.
“When there’s an urgent need and we’re uniquely positioned to help, we’ll undertake engineering projects like building airfields and base camps for new missions,’’ he said.
More than a dozen European countries also planned to contribute, with British Prime Minister David Cameron, pledging to send 70 troops and experts to the UN and AU peacekeeping force in Somalia.
Cameron also disclosed plans to send 300 troops to the UN mission in South Sudan.
“I believe these things are in our own national interest. When countries break up, we see the problems of migration can affect us all.
“When countries become havens to terror, we all suffer as a result,’’ Cameron told the summit.
Bangladesh, Ethiopia, India, Pakistan and Rwanda ranked the top five troop and police contributing countries to UN peacekeeping missions.
The five nations also made further pledges at summit.