28 May 2019 11:04

Kazakhstan to broaden its involvement in UN peacekeeping missions - Defense Ministry

NUR-SULTAN. May 28 (Interfax) - Kazakhstan will declare the readiness to assign its specialized units to UN peacekeeping missions in the near future, the Kazakh Defense Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

Diversified involvement of the Kazakh Armed Forces in peacekeeping missions within the framework of the Senior Mission Administration and Resource Training (SMART) program has been discussed at a meeting between Kazakh Defense Minister Nurlan Yermekbayev, UN Under-Secretary-General for Operational Support Atul Khare, and UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix, the statement said.

"In this context, Kazakhstan will soon register specialized peacekeeping units with the UN Peacekeeping Capability Readiness System (PCRS)," it said.

The meeting held in Nur-Sultan in furtherance of the International Partnership for Technology in Peacekeeping Symposium addressed the engagement of Kazakh servicemen, including female peacekeepers, in UN missions, as well as the promotion of Kazakh peace initiatives, and the possible appointment of Kazakh officers to vacant positions in the UN departments for operational support and peacekeeping operations, the statement said.

Yermekbayev affirmed Kazakhstan's readiness to concentrate on quality training of peacekeepers.

"The world has changed, and threats and risks have acquired new tones. Demand is high for not just quantity of units and formations but for the so-called 'smart peacekeeping', i.e. highly qualified and compact teams of servicemen who are well aware of the local situation, speak foreign languages, and have knacks and skills they could use to normalize the situation," Yermekbayev told the press in Nur-Sultan on Tuesday.

"We will be working to this end and emphasize quality of our peacekeepers, rather than their quantity. We are counting on the UN's support in this field," Yermekbayev said.

Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said last week that Kazakhstan should broaden the range of its involvement in UN missions and send not just infantry, but also engineering, intelligence, medical, and other necessary units.

Kazakhstan deployed its first peacekeeping mission comprising 120 servicemen and three staff officers to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon in October 2018. The deployment lasted for six months, and the Kazakh servicemen took part in patrolling, control over ceasefire implementation, and assistance to the civilian population. The unit underwent rotation in May, and another peacekeeping company of 120 servicemen was sent to Lebanon.