Thai Prime Minister participates in Peacekeeping Summit hosted by President Obama; pledges Thailand’s strong support for peacekeeping operations around the world.
On 28 September 2015, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha participated in the Peacekeeping Summit hosted by President Barack Obama in New York.
The Prime Minister spoke about Thailand’s long history of contributing to the UN peace operations worldwide. Over 20,000 Thai personnel have joined in more than 20 UN missions from the early days of the Korean War to conflicts in Timor-Leste, Darfur and South Sudan.
He emphasized the importance of development as a foundation for sustainable peacebuilding and the unique experience of Thai peacekeepers in promoting peace and uplifting of livelihoods of local communities. The important role of women in peace processes was also underlined.
He pledged Thailand’s continued support for future UN peace operations by contributing staff officers and military units for civil development when needed. He also stated Thailand’s readiness to work with the United States and the United Nations to build capacity and train peacekeepers through the Peace Operations Center in Thailand.
Below is the statement of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha at the Peacekeeping Summit 2015.
by General Prayuth Chan-o–cha (Ret.),
Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand
at the “Peacekeeping Summit 2015”,
Trusteeship Council Chamber,
UN Headquarters, New York,
28 September 2015
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thailand is honoured to be participating in this Peacekeeping Summit. We commend the United States of America and the other co-host countries for organising this event on an issue that is central to the UN’s role for 70 years since its birth. We admire the substantive pledges made today to contribute to UN peacekeeping operations by so many member states around the world.
Thailand is proud of our long history of contributing to UN peacekeeping operations worldwide. Ever since we joined the UN in 1946, we have sent over 20,000 Thai peacekeeping personnel on more than 20 UN peacekeeping and related missions, from the early days of the Korean War to conflicts in Timor-Leste, the Sudan and South Sudan.
As the nature of conflict has evolved, it is time for us to comprehensively review how we should conduct peace operations today to more effectively address these new challenges. Thailand welcomes the report of the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations and the report issued by the UNSG on recommendations contained in the Panel’s report.
We believe that peacekeeping mandates should become more robust to address new challenges. Conflict prevention, peacekeeping, peacebuilding, and development are all interconnected. They are all fundamental to sustainable peace. Peace is only possible when the well-being of locals, as well as their political and social rights, including the rights of women and children, who are vulnerable and affected by conflicts, are maintained and promoted.
This is why Thailand has emphasised the importance of peacekeepers who not only keep the peace but also contribute to development. Thailand’s experiences in peacekeeping missions in, for instance, Timor-Leste and Darfur in the Sudan show that Thai peacekeepers were able to reach out to communities in conflict zones, developing rapport and sharing with them various development skills, such as agriculture and land and water management, so that the locals could become more self-reliant and develop sustainably. Thai peacekeepers were thus able to gain the trust and acceptance of locals while conducting their missions.
Thailand believes that bolstering the women, peace and security agenda is directly related to overcoming conflict and to sustaining peace. Throughout the world, there are still not enough female peacekeepers and peace process negotiators. This is despite evidence in this year’s report by the International Peace Institute, in collaboration with Thailand, that when women participate in peace processes, a peace agreement is more likely to be reached and implemented.
Today, with the continuing demand for peacekeeping and the ever-changing challenges facing peacekeepers, an all-embracing perspective is needed that includes the development dimension. Thailand reaffirms its intention to contribute staff officers and military units for civil development with expertise on livelihood development and construction engineering to participate in future UN peace operations as requested. Thailand is also ready to explore further avenues of cooperation with the UN and with other countries on capacity building and training for peacekeepers through our Peace Operations Centre under the Royal Thai Armed Forces Headquarters.
Lastly, Thailand wishes the Summit every success. I commend and thank President Obama once again for this important initiative.