Speech by Prime Minister Mark Rutte at the Summit on Peacekeeping Operations

Speech by Prime Minister Mark Rutte at the Summit on Peacekeeping Operations on 28 September 2015

Speech by Prime Minister Mark Rutte at the Summit on Peacekeeping Operations, 28 September 2015

Mr President, ladies and gentlemen,

President Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, 'When peace has been broken anywhere, the peace of all countries everywhere is in danger'. These words capture the spirit of today's summit. 

We're here to renew our commitment to the UN's aim of promoting peace and security worldwide. I'd like to thank President Obama and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for this important initiative. We face big challenges and we have high expectations of UN peace missions. So we must make sure we keep supplying the UN with enough people and resources. After all, we are the UN.

The past few years have brought war and conflict very close to home. The violence, the enormous refugee flows: we cannot ignore what is happening.

The Kingdom of the Netherlands has a long-standing tradition of active involvement in international affairs. That commitment explains our candidacy for a seat on the UN Security Council in 2017 and 2018. Since 1947 our country has been involved in more than sixty UN-mandated missions in over thirty countries, deploying more than 125,000 men and women. The belief underlying our contributions to these missions has always been that in many conflict situations, it is only the UN that can legitimately intervene. 

That belief also prompted us to host a European prelude to this summit in Amsterdam last February. More than forty countries attended and reaffirmed their support for UN peace missions and how to make these missions more effective. The Netherlands believes the basis should be a clear mandate and an integrated approach. Regional partnerships and better cooperation with local communities are essential.

The Netherlands will remain fully committed to peacekeeping in the years ahead. 

Let me be specific:

  • We have made long-term extra funds available for defence in general and peacekeeping in particular.
  • Our contribution to the UN's MINUSMA mission in Mali, of 450 military, police and civilian personnel, is to be extended by one year. 
    Our efforts are aimed at the intelligence capability of the missions. 
    We'll also be helping more generally to develop policy and capabilities to boost the quality of intelligence in UN missions.
  • Along with other countries, including the US, the Dutch military will continue to train soldiers from African countries.
  • The protection of civilians is also a key UN and Dutch priority. That is why the Netherlands and the US are developing a new training module on civilian protection, and why the Netherlands endorses the Kigali Principles. Together with partners, we will organise a conference on this issue next year.
  • And last but not least, we will make a big financial contribution to enhancing the UN's planning capacity. Because, as I said, we must keep supplying the UN with enough people and resources.

Ladies and gentlemen, the importance of UN peace missions is beyond question. One conflict, in one country or one continent, affects us all. But to stay effective, we must keep working, keep innovating and keep focusing. 

The Netherlands stands ready to play its part.

Thank you.