From: Harris, Gardiner [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Monday, September 28, 2015 03:35 PM
To: Velz, Peter T. EOP; Barnes, Desiree N. EOP
Subject: Peacekeeping summit remarks; Pool 11
President Obama spoke for about nine minutes before a summit on peacekeeping, and he promised to issue a new presidential guidance to expand support of the United Nations’ peacekeeping efforts by the United States.
Joining him at the summit was National Security Advisor Susan Rice, Secretary of State John Kerry and United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power. Nearby sat Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sherif, among the largest contributors of troops to U.N. peacekeeping efforts.
Mr. Obama argued that the United Nations’ peacekeeping apparatus cannot presently keep up with the growing demands. And he said the world needed to bolster the system to protect itself.
“Put simply, U.N. peacekeeping cannot keep up with growing demands,” Mr. Obama said. “This is not something we do for others; this is something we do collectively because our collective security depends on it.” as the largest financial contributor to UN peacekeeping operations, the United States intends to do its part."
Mr. Obama promised to double the number of U.S. military officers serving in peacekeeping operations, presently less than 1,000, and to expand the country’s logistics and air support for the operations.
Mr. Obama noted that the more than 50 countries present had promised to commit a combined 30,000 new troops to the U.N. efforts.
Mr. Obama said that peacekeeping operations need to do a better job of protecting civilians. “Because for innocent people caught in the crossfire in places like South Sudan, the action of U.N. peacekeepers can mean the difference between life and death.”
But Mr. Obama said that reports of rape and other crimes by U.N. peacekeepers were not acceptable.
“We have to insist on zero tolerance for abuse. Zero,” Mr. Obama said.
Mr. Obama also called for increasing the share of female troops, modernizing the forces, improving the partnership with the African Union and improving the multilateral body’s diplomatic tools.
“I want to thank all of you for your partnership and the commitments your nations are making here,” Mr. Obama said finally.
White House Correspondent
The New York Times
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