Global Policy Forum

UN Welcomes ASEAN Peacekeeping Force, Promises Help


By Adianto P. Simamora

Jakarta Post
February 27, 2004

The United Nations welcomed on Wednesday Indonesia's proposal to build a regional peacekeeping force and promised to provide assistance to make it a reality. The peacekeeping force is an integral part of the ASEAN Security Community (ASC) concept, which is designed to resolve regional conflicts and maintain security in the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) region.

"From the UN's point of view, we welcome the initiative (ASEAN peacekeeping force) and we also welcome all such initiatives in various regions in the world," Danilo Tuerk, Assistant Secretary General of the UN, told Indonesian journalists in Jakarta after the end of the 4th UN-ASEAN Conference on Wednesday.

"We see tendency of growth of support for peacekeeping and not only in ASEAN but also in Africa, Europe and Latin America, so there is a tendency to strengthen the multilateral capacity for peacekeeping," Tuerk said. He said that the establishment of the peacekeeping force would depend on the region's requirements.

"We in the UN does not insist that all peacekeeping forces must be like the UN's peacekeeping force, and there can be other arrangements depending on the needs and very often the UN can also provide guidance without necessarily resorting to peacekeeping activities," he said.

Indonesian foreign ministry spokesman and director-general for ASEAN cooperation Marty M. Natalegawa said that the UN had promised to provide assistance to ASEAN to develop the ASC. "During the conference (UN-ASEAN conference), the UN promised it would provide assistance, including training and the lessons learned from the conflict prevention, conflict resolution and post-conflict peace building to avoid mistakes in implementing the ASC," Marty said.

The ASEAN peacekeeping force was first put forward by Indonesia as a part of its ASEAN Security Community (ASC) concept, which was first proposed by Indonesia last October at the ninth ASEAN Summit in Bali. The ASC is one of the three pillars of the ASEAN Community, along with the ASEAN Economic Community and the ASEAN Sociocultural Community. Indonesia presented the draft action plan on ASC to ASEAN senior officials during a meeting in Jakarta last Friday.

Meanwhile, Julia Taft director of the UN Development Fund's Bureau of Crisis Prevention and Recovery lauded the proposal for a regional peacekeeping force. "It's an exciting possibility, we look forward to setting out the details," Taft told The Associated Press on Wednesday. She said that it was important for ASEAN member countries to work together to improve security in the region.

Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs Hassan Wirayuda said on Tuesday that a regional force was needed because "most conflicts in the world today are not between states but within states, and internal strife has a way of spilling over from the embattled country to the rest of the region.

However, the Bangkok Post reported on Monday that the regional peacekeeping force proposal, according to Thailand Foreign Minister Surakiart Sathirathai, was not necessary. Sathirathai said that no international conflicts were raging in the region and if such problems arose and help from members of ASEAN was needed, individual members could send their troops in to help.

The others ASEAN members are yet to endorse the peacekeeping proposal, which is expected to be discussed formally in June at the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in Jakarta.

More information on the Security Council
More information on Peacekeeping
More information on Regional Organizations and UN Peacekeeping


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