Indonesia Pledges 4,000 Peacekeepers by 2019

BATAK CENTER FOR AFRICAN STUDIES -- Indonesia would have 4,000 peacekeepers deployed worldwide as part of UN forces by 2019, Vice President Jusuf Kalla pledged at the UN Peacekeeping Summit on Monday, expressing his desire to see Indonesia expand its role in ensuring world peace.

In his speech, Kalla said that aside from appealing for more conflict prevention measures, Indonesia would remain committed to world peace and order as mandated by the preamble to the 1945 Constitution.

'€œIndonesia remains steadfastly committed to realizing our vision of 4,000 peacekeepers by the year 2019. Towards this end we have recently established a security and peacekeeping center to train future peacekeepers. The center also welcomes participants from other friendly countries,'€ he said.

Currently, Indonesia has 2,730 troops and police personnel deployed in nine missions worldwide.

Earlier this year, Indonesia finalized the deployment of an 800-strong composite battalion to the UN African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID).

Indonesia is also in the final stage of deploying three Mi-17 utility helicopters to the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali.

According to Kalla, Indonesia will be ready to deploy a military composite battalion and a formed police unit by 2016, including 100 individual police officers, in which a minimum of 40 would be female.

'€œEven the smallest contributions matter. They can make a difference in maintaining international peace and security,'€ said Kalla.

The UN has more than 120,000 troops and police deployed in 16 missions around the world at a cost of over US$8 billion a year. The US funds over 28 percent of that amount.

However, an all-time high demand for UN peacekeeping has continued, outpacing the UN'€™s capacity to respond to crises around the world, and also draining the pool of personnel and equipment contributed by member states, according to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

During the summit, which was initiated by US President Barack Obama, China agreed to expand its miniscule peacekeeping force of around 3,000 to 8,000 troops, and provide some $100 million to ensure peace in Africa.

'€œChina will join the new UN peacekeeping capability readiness system, and has thus decided to lead in setting up a permanent peacekeeping police squad and build a peacekeeping standby force of 8,000 troops,'€ Chinese President Xi Jinping said in his speech.

During the summit, Obama also announced that more than 50 countries had offered to contribute a combined amount of some 30,000 peacekeeping and police personnel.

'€œWe know that peace operations are not the solution to every problem,'€ Obama said. '€œBut they do remain one of the world'€™s most important tools to address armed conflict.'€

Despite the growing demand, Indonesia has called on the UN to provide clarity with regard to the mandates of missions, particularly on the distinction between peacekeeping and peace-enforcement.

Indonesia has also called for a wider effort in conflict prevention, saying that rather than having to deploy large numbers of soldiers and police officers as UN peacekeepers, the world should work harder to prevent inter-state conflicts from happening in the first place.

'€œStates can prevent conflicts and the rise of radicalism among others by ensuring social justice, more equitable economic development, an inclusive and participatory political process and good governance,'€ Kalla said.


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