Washington, DC - Secretary of State John Kerry: "Today we honor the service and sacrifice of the courageous men and women serving under the flag of the United Nations with the mission of peace. That mission, which dates back nearly 70 years, is central to the purpose of the United Nations and indispensable to the peace and security of the globe.
"Nearly 130,000 courageous UN peacekeepers from 122 countries serve the cause of peace, nearly two-thirds in conflict areas where they operate under robust and demanding mandates often at great personal risk. This is by far the greatest number of active peacekeepers in history – a fact that reflects the steadfast determination of the international community to respond.
"And just as the demand for peacekeeping has grown in recent years, so have the demands placed on those missions. Mission mandates have evolved in critically important ways to address the most pressing needs on the ground, including the protection of civilians. While we ask more of peacekeepers, we as a global community must strive to ensure that they possess the necessary training, tools, support and resources to advance the cause of peace. The United States supports such requirements through robust capacity building programs such as the Global Peace Operations Initiative and International Police Peacekeeping Operations Support. We look forward to continuing work with our partners to strengthen UN peacekeeping, including at the Summit that President Obama will co-host this fall, on the margins of the U.N. General Assembly high-level week."