gyptian forces taking part in UN peacekeeping - Press photo/Official page of Interior Ministry
CAIRO – 5 August 2017: Egypt ranked third in the United Nations peacekeeping operations’ largest contributing countries for the current period, according to the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO). A total of 729 Egyptian officers and police personnel serve in U.N. peacekeeping operations in various countries, as announced by the Ministry of Interior Affairs.
Egypt preserves a leading role in maintaining and strengthening international peace and security in line with the U.N. Charter and the Constitutive Act of the African Union. The country’s first contribution to U.N. peacekeeping goes back to 1960 in the Congo. The Congo operation was the first large-scale peacekeeping operation, with nearly 20,000 military personnel. 250 U.N. personnel died while serving in that operation, including then-Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold.
Since this operation, Egypt has contributed to 37 U.N. operations with over 30,000 peacekeepers deployed in 24 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe, serving under the flag of the U.N. According to the Cairo Center for Conflict Resolution and Peacekeeping in Africa, 28 Egyptian peacekeepers lost their lives while serving in peacekeeping operations.
In Africa, Egypt participates in all U.N. peacekeeping operations through contributing elements from the armed forces and police, including observers. The total number of contributed Egyptian personnel reached 2,809 in March 2016. African peacekeeping operations include the African Union/U.N. Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), the U.N. Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), the U.N. Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI), the U.N. Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), the U.N. Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), the U.N. Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS), the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), and the U.N. Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO).
Furthermore, Egypt contributes to preventive diplomacy efforts, having proposed two initiatives to further activate the African peace and security structure, namely the initiative to establish the African Union Center for Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development "AUC-PCRD", as well as the establishment of a unit for mediation support and conflict prevention within the AU Commission structure.
In addition, in 2010, Egypt took the initiative to launch the "Forum of Peace Envoys to Africa" in 2010, which it hosted for two consecutive years. The forum was the first framework bringing together the heads of U.N. peacekeeping operations and special political missions with their counterparts appointed by the African Union, aiming to harmonize peacemaking and peace-building policies on the U.N. and continental scales.
In April 2017, in a press conference held during the visit of Congolese President Joseph Kabila to Egypt, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi announced the participation of Egyptian forces in the U.N. peacekeeping operation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The aim of Egypt’s participation in the peacekeeping operation is to support the stability of the country after the breakout of hostilities in the eastern region of the country by armed groups. The peacekeeping operation is also expected to end illegal exploitation of natural resources and protect Congolese residents’ rights.
Sisi said, “This comes in alliance with Egypt’s determined stance to respect the sovereignty of the republic over its lands and reject interference in its internal affairs.”
Egypt’s vision on peace building and participation in peacekeeping operations follows clear principles of strengthening the role of regional organizations in peacekeeping operations; modernizing U.N. peacekeeping operations, including the use of high-tech equipment; ensuring that peacekeeping efforts include capacity building; and ensuring the protection of civilians.
This is not the first time for Egypt to figure high in regional or international rankings related to peacekeeping operations. In March 2016, Egypt was considered the largest contributing country among Arab countries, and ranked third as the largest contributor in peacekeeping operations from the International Organization of La Francophonie.
In 2017, the U.S., the major contributor to the U.N.’s peacekeeping budget with 28.75 percent of total budget, decreased its share of contribution in the 2017 budget. The U.N. peacekeeping budget decreased from nearly $7.87 billion to $7.3 billion.