Due: Serbia - Balkan leader in UN mission participation

BELGRADE - Serbia is one of the ten highest-ranking European countries takng part in the UN peacekeeping missions around the world, while in the Western Balkans it is the leader in this respect, said Peter Due, head of the UN Office in Belgrade and a representative of the Secretary-General UN Ban Ki -moon in charge of the region.

In an interview for the Belgrade daily Politika on Thursday, Due said it is really good that the Western Balkans, which used to be a region that had to import security, has now become a region that exports security.

He announced that the UN office in Belgrade will organize in October a regional conference on the high-level UN peacekeeping missions.

We will invite from New York the head of UN peacekeeping missions, and also ministers of defence, internal affairs and foreign affairs of the Western Balkan countries, as well as representatives of partner countries and organizations such as the OSCE and NATO. Then we will encourage states to contribute to several missions by sending troops individually and also in agreement with the neighbors, explained Due.

He said that Serbia is currently participating in the UN missions with over 200 soldiers and dozens of police officers, which is a lot if one takes into account the size of the country.

Your greatest contribution is in Lebanon and Cyprus. You can be proud of the performance of your soldiers, because they are highly respected, professional and well trained and equipped, said Due.

He pointed out that the Central African Republic and Mali are countries where Serbian soldiers could participate in the UN mission.

Due underlined that these missions need support of countries such as Serbia, which have qualified people.

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