Good afternoon everybody. Captain Amick, Marines and sailors of the USS Iwo Jima—you honor us by hosting this reception for the Military and Police Advisers’ community at the United Nations. Thank you for your hospitality and your dedicated service to our country. I know many of you are returning from challenging assignments, including from Haiti, where you saved thousands of lives and we’re very, very proud of you.
America will forever be proud of the veterans of the Battle of Iwo Jima, after which this incredible ship is named.
General Fraser, I am delighted to see you here again in New York. Thank you for making the trip and for working so closely on Haiti with the leadership of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations and Department of Field Service. We’re honored that they are able to join us here today.
And, finally, to the guests of honor, the Military and Police Advisers community: Thank you for your service, for the cooperation you extend everyday to Col. Allwine and the Military Staff Committee at the US mission, and for dedicating your time and expertise to making UN peacekeeping more effective.
It is quite fitting in many ways that I find myself here today right now, in this company, and that’s because today, President Obama is releasing our new National Security Strategy – a comprehensive summation of the President’s approach to advancing America’s security and prosperity and helping create a more just, decent, lawful, prosperous, and secure world. This strategy is built on the realizations that all nations have both rights and responsibilities, and that no nation can meet global challenges alone. And so we will work together to tackle the challenges of our interconnected age and build up the partnerships and institutions that reinforce our ideals and advance our common interests. We will strengthen old alliances, build up mutually beneficial relationships with emerging powers in every region, and support institutions – such as the United Nations and its peacekeeping forces – that can help meet the complex challenges of our times.
All of us here today share a common goal. We seek to strengthen the United Nation’s peacekeeping capacities and performance to save civilians from the horrors of war and bring peace to societies emerging from deadly conflict. Thousands of UN peacekeepers risk their lives every day to protect innocent civilians from slaughter and to prevent a fragile peace from crumbling. It’s easy to lose sight of how high the stakes can be when you’re trapped in the bowels of UN headquarters haggling over an obscure line in the C-34 report.
But every once in a while, it is important to pause and remind ourselves that UN peacekeeping saves lives—and the better it works, the more lives we can save. And, as we prepare to celebrate International Peacekeepers’ Day on May 29, let us remember again that peacekeeping is a noble undertaking—and that it can succeed only if we all work together on the basis of mutual interest and mutual respect. The United States respects the service and sacrifice of your countries, and we mourn those who have lost their lives in the line of duty. You have more than our admiration. You have our commitment to work together in partnership in the months and years ahead to achieve our common goals.
Thank you very much for being here.
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