Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, thanked South Africa for its strong support to UN Peacekeeping and for the service and sacrifice of its military and police personnel deployed under the UN flag, the UN said in a statement on Wednesday.
South Africa provides 1189 uniformed personnel to UN Peacekeeping, making it the 15th largest contributor among all UN Member States.
It is also the 6th largest contributor of women peacekeepers, with 230 now serving, according to the UN.
The UN under-secretary thanked South Africa for its peace keeping efforts in the Democratic Republic of Congo DRC.
South Africa’s largest deployment is with the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), where 1 184 peacekeepers serve, said the UN representative.
It also contributes police personnel to the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) and the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
In recent decades, South Africa also contributed to UN peace operations in Burundi, Ethiopia-Eritrea, Liberia, Nepal and to the United Nations–African Union Mission in Darfur, Sudan.
“South Africa’s peacekeeping contributions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo over the years, through personnel deployed as part of infantry battalions, helicopter units, and military medical teams, have been essential to efforts to build peace, as well as to ensure the health and safety of fellow peacekeepers. In addition, the South African female engagement team’s outreach efforts have significantly strengthened the mission’s relationship with Congolese communities,” according to Lacroix.
“The UN appreciates the service and sacrifice of the South African men and women, past and present. We will always remember the 50 South African peacekeepers who lost their lives while serving under the UN flag,” said Lacroix.
Recently, South Africa played a pivotal role in the Tigray conflict negotiations, playing host country to the AU-led mediation team, in which a ceasefire agreement was reached between Tigray forces and the Ethiopian government.