The U.S. line on Peacekeeping

Ambassador Rice is set to testify in front of the House Foreign Affairs Committee this Wednesday.  We’ll be there, tweeting and live blogging. If you just can’t wait, look to her remarks in front of the Security Council in late June where she delineated U.S. commitments on UN peacekeeping.  The highlights:

First, we will seek mandates for UN peacekeeping operations that are credible and achievable. We will urge the Council to continue to weigh the full range of responses to a given challenge. Poorly armed and disorganized gangs, rebel groups, and others outside a peace process should not be allowed to thwart a peacekeeping mandate or block a UN deployment.

At the same time, we recognize that UN peacekeepers cannot do everything and go everywhere. There are limits to what they can accomplish, especially in the midst of a full-blown war or in the face of opposition from the host government. Peacekeeping missions are not always the right answer…These lessons have guided our approach in a number of instances, most recently Somalia, where conditions are not yet appropriate for successful UN peacekeeping. But it is a country that still urgently needs sustained, if not increased, international support.

More after the jump.

Second, the United States will intensify diplomatic efforts to give new momentum to some of the stalled or faltering peace processes in areas where UN peacekeeping operations are deployed, starting with Darfur and Sudan’s North-South peace process.

Third, the United States will strengthen its efforts with the UN and other partners to expand the pool of troop and police contributors, for both current and future UN peacekeeping operations.

The United States, for its part, is willing to consider directly contributing more military observers, military staff officers, civilian police, and other civilian personnel—including more women—to UN peacekeeping operations….Let me single out one immediate priority: we will assist with generating the missing forces and enabling units required for UNAMID, MINURCAT, and MONUC to better protect civilians under imminent threat of physical, including sexual, violence.

Fourth, the United States will dedicate greater attention to Security Council discussions on the renewal of existing peacekeeping mandates. We will seek more comprehensive assessments of the progress that has been made and the obstacles that remain. This includes carefully considering the early recovery and peacebuilding activities that enable peacekeeping operations to depart successfully, such as demobilizing and reintegrating former combatants, reforming the security sector, and strengthening the rule of law. We will use these discussions as opportunities to take stock of the ways that U.S. assistance can accelerate the transfer of responsibilities from peacekeepers to the host country, in success.

Sounds like a plan to me.

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