France lends its support to the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, which marks the 70th anniversary of the existence of UN peacekeepers this year.
On this occasion, it would like to pay tribute to the courage and dedication of these men and women who have served or are currently serving as peacekeepers around the world. Since the deployment of the first peacekeeping operation in 1948 in the Middle East, more than a million men and women have served on all continents, in more than 70 operations to promote peace and stabilization and protect populations. They have successfully completed their missions, in often very difficult conditions, in many theaters of operation, from Côte d’Ivoire to East Timor, El Salvador and Liberia, where UNMIL has just completed its mission. They save many lives everywhere and help restore calm and stability in hard-hit regions.
We also want to pay tribute to the memory of the more than 3,700 peacekeepers who have lost their lives under the UN flag while carrying out their missions to promote peace and protect populations. This includes 113 French citizens.
More than 800 French personnel are now involved in UN peacekeeping operations, notably as part of UNIFIL (Lebanon).
France remains the fifth largest financial contributor to peacekeeping operations. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council our country also helps define demanding and innovative mandates aimed at ensuring the full effectiveness of these operations.