Remarks at a UN Security Council Briefing on UN Peacekeeping Operations

Rodney Hunter
Political Coordinator
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
June 18, 2019


Thank you Mr. President. Thank you Under-Secretary-General Lacroix and to the Force Commanders for your briefings, as well as for your service. Today I will focus on two issues—on host country cooperation and peacekeeping performance.

Indeed, consent of the parties is one of the core principles of UN peacekeeping operations, but underlying this principle is the parties’ commitment to a political process. We see an inextricable link between these two, reflected both in the Secretary General’s Action for Peacekeeping (A4P) initiative, and the United States’ own peacekeeping principles. Peacekeeping operations must support the achievement of political solutions and peacekeeping missions must have host country cooperation. The two go hand-in-hand.

For missions to effectively implement their mandates and successfully support political efforts to achieve stability and a durable peace, peacekeeping missions must have the full cooperation of the host countries, and mission personnel must have complete freedom of movement within their area of operations.

The Security Council must not renounce its Charter-mandated role in the maintenance of international peace and security, but we have seen that missions face significantly more challenges in achieving their mandates when host governments choose to obstruct them.

The United States has championed peacekeeping performance in A4P and through the unanimous adoption of resolution 2436. A key aspect of ensuring good performance is accountability of peacekeeping missions. More accountable peacekeeping Missions deliver better on their mandate, and increase the credibility of the United Nation’s blue helmets around the world.

Resolution 2436 makes very clear that the Security Council needs better information on peacekeeping performance in order to make better decisions. From training and capacity-building to ensuring accountability for underperformance, we can’t fix what we don’t know. No longer can we accept the business as usual approach of not talking openly and honestly about our own shortcomings.

We welcome the Secretary-General’s commitment to implement an integrated performance policy. However, much more needs to be done. We will continue to work with our partners toward the full and speedy implementation of 2436. Separately, host countries must embrace the strategic goals of the UN, the Peacekeeping Missions and the work of the UN Country Teams. Without host country understanding and acceptance of the goals and assistance provided by the UN, the completion of a Security Council mandate cannot be achieved.

Host countries must cooperate with the UN and the peacekeeping missions deployed in their country. Without that cooperation, peacekeeping missions will never achieve their goals the Security Council mandates in our resolutions. With all of this in mind, I would ask just a couple of questions.

The first is: what are the ways in which host countries have rebuffed the good offices of the UN Country Team and attempted to restrict freedom of movement and access that you might like to highlight for the Council today?

Looking at UNAMID, the Transitional Military Council recently stated its intention to withdraw all armed forces from team sites formerly operated by UNAMID. To whom will these team sites transition and how do you foresee the transition happening logistically?

For UNFICYP, we know the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities have different views on the issues of host country consent. What types of challenges has your mission faced stemming from that issue directly?

Finally, the United States expresses our appreciation to all the Force Commanders and to the continuing service and sacrifice of your teams around the world. Thank you. And thank you, Mr. President.