Egypt on Monday commemorated the 75th anniversary of the UN peacekeeping operations with a ceremony in the capital Cairo that honored the country’s fallen peacekeepers and highlighted the importance of their legacy.
The ceremony, which was held at Tahrir Palace in downtown Cairo, was attended by representatives of Egypt’s defense and interior ministries, as well as several ambassadors to Egypt. It was also attended by the families of deceased Egyptian peacekeepers.
The event began with a recorded message from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who expressed his solidarity with the families of the fallen peacekeepers and praised their “exceptional sacrifices.”
“The UN peacekeepers are the beating heart of our commitment to a more peaceful world. For 75 years, they have supported people and communities rocked by conflict and upheaval across the globe,” Guterres said.
In his speech, Egypt’s Assistant Foreign Minister for Multilateral Affairs and International Security Ihab Badawy said Egypt is the sixth largest contributor of uniformed personnel to UN peacekeeping operations. He added that more than 30,000 Egyptian police and military personnel have served in 38 UN peacekeeping missions in 24 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Europe.
The Egyptian diplomat noted that 60 Egyptian peacekeepers have lost their lives since Egypt deployed its first mission in Congo in 1960.
Badawy added that Egypt is committed to pushing for peace solutions and constantly works on training Arab and African peacekeepers to enable them to overcome security challenges.
“Peaceful solutions should be the distinguished feature of the UN approach to ending conflicts,” he added.
UN Resident Coordinator in Egypt Elena Panova called on boosting the UN peacekeeping work to contain wars and to save the coming generations from the sorrows of conflicts.
Egypt has grown to become a backbone of the UN peacekeeping, she said, referring to the large number of Egyptian personnel serving in the UN missions.
She also mentioned that peacekeepers today face even greater challenges from “terrorists, criminals, armed groups, and their allies who have access to sophisticated weapons,” adding that investing in personnel training is vital to make peacekeepers less exposed to dangers.
According to the UN website, more than 2 million uniformed and civilian personnel have served in 71 peacekeeping operations around the world, “contributing to the cause of international security, peace and progress for all peoples.”
More than 4,100 peacekeepers have sacrificed their lives since the UN Security Council sent its first peacekeeping mission in 1948 to the Middle East to supervise the implementation of Israeli-Arab armistice agreements.