Abyei, 09 December 2019 – The Ethiopian government has pledged its commitment to increase women participation in United Nations peacekeeping in line with the Secretary General initiatives on Action For peace (A4P) on Women, Peace and Security, saying the role of Women in UN peacekeeping operations is also the priority in the Ethiopian peacekeeping efforts as the leading country in women contribution for the UN peacekeeping missions.
The Ethiopian Ambassador to Sudan, His Excellency, Ambassador Shferaw Jarso announced this yesterday while addressing the Ethiopian 21 Battalion at Athony Battalion Headquarters, ten kilometers south of Abyei town. “I would like to reiterate my country's unwavering commitment to the UN peacekeeping efforts and determined to provide well-trained and equipped uniformed personnel, with increased participation of women and support the UN peacekeeping efforts in partnership with other Troop and Police Contributing Countries,” said Ambassador Shferaw.
Ambassador Shferaw noted that Ethiopia is playing important roles in the peacemaking processes to find a political solution to the conflict between Sudan and South Sudan through mediation in the auspices of IGAD, adding that due to Ethiopia's neutral position, both Sudan and South Sudan invited Ethiopia's peacekeepers to prevent conflict in Abyei. He applauded the troops for diligently discharging their duties and even paying the ultimate sacrifice in the cause of international peace and security, stressing that the promotion of global peace and security is a major political consideration in Ethiopia’s commitment to UN and AU led peacekeeping operations.
He acknowledged that UNISFA is a special mission that operates in the absence of a viable state structure where the community fully depends on the Mission not only for its security but also for the provision of basic services. He therefore, called on the UN to apportion the necessary financial resources for the implementation of Quick Impact Projects (QIPs).
Ambassador Shferaw payed tribute to all those UN peacekeepers, men and women, who have sacrificed their lives for the sake of peace. “Let us honor their sacrifice by clearly demonstrating our firm commitment for the promotion and maintenance of international peace and security, he said.
Also Speaking, UNISFA’s acting Head of Mission and Force Commander, Major General Mehari Zewde Gebremariam, charged the troops to remain focused and dedicated while implementing their mandated task and to ensure that they follow the principals of integrity and impartiality. The tasks undertaken by the battalion which include patrols, escorts, safeguarding of UN property and the protection of civilians, road and camp construction and maintenance were performed with the highest dedication despite the harsh weather conditions is commendable.
General Mehari noted that the history of Ethiopia’s peacekeeping contribution to the UN dates to 1950 when Ethiopian contingent deployed to Korea. Since then, Ethiopia has participated in Peacekeeping missions in Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire and currently in Darfur, Abyei, South Sudan and Somalia. He also noted that currently, Ethiopia is the leading Troop Contributing Country with more than seven thousand troops, with varying levels of involvement in different Peacekeeping Missions with a special focus on the IGAD region. Ethiopia is sole troop contributor of UNISFA of which 55% of Ethiopia's global UN peace keeping operation deployed in this (UNISFA) mission.
About 1650 peacekeepers, amongst them Four Generals and thirty-two Officers were decorated with UN medals in recognition of their disciplined and meritorious service.