Thank you, Mr. President. First, I want to say on behalf of the United States, the sadness and the heaviness we all feel on the loss of Michael Sharp and Zaida Catalan. I know my friend in Sweden feels the same way. But it is very telling that when we focus so much on these types of things – and what we’re trying to do – we have to remember the people on the frontline that are trying so hard to protect people on the ground. And these are real people with real families and real sacrifice. And so it’s a sober reminder that we can never forget that when we have people on the ground trying to keep peace, we have to do all we can to make sure that we’re keeping them safe and the people safe.
So it is with that, that really this mandate – I first want to thank Ambassador Delattre, thank you for your team and your effort and the negotiations and the care in which all of this was done. And I want to certainly just tell the Security Council how pleased I am that we moved forward, because the whole mission was keeping the Congolese people in mind.
When we look at these peacekeeping missions, what we need to focus on is it’s not the number of people we have on the ground, it’s the quality of the work that’s happening on the ground. And so what we’re seeing is an area where – yes, we can have thousands and thousands of troops, but if they’re not really working to keep the Congolese safe, none of that matters. And so with that, I was very pleased that we did cut the troop ceiling, but we made sure that where the troops are, are actually going to be more effective. It’s like Francois said about the specialized units – that’s the key, it’s to make sure the elections are safe, to make sure that we’re keeping people safe, and that we’re actually looking at the political problems on the ground that are happening there as well.
The idea that we’re really pushing toward long-term stability and good governance in this is something we should all be very proud about. Always prioritizing the protection of civilians – that’s the one thing that I think is most important. We’re very grateful to the contributing troops that come into the area, but we can never forget that the whole goal is to keep the Congolese safe at that point.
So in order to do that, we have to keep accountable the troops that are actually doing this. And what I believe was one of the best things that came out of this was the strategic review that we’ll get back in September, because what we can’t do is walk away from this and say our job is done. What we do need to do is keep looking and making sure that what we did is actually working and effective and meeting the goals that we had. And so with that, that’s why I thought it was very important and why I appreciated France saying that the specific indicators that we’re going to be watching – we actually have measurables now to look back and see where the troop failures are happening. Because when you see people like Michael and Zaida there, we owe it to them to let them know what’s expected and what we need to have happen so that they can be protected. And I think that, by now, having measurables to where we can do that and be able to hold those troops accountable as well, to do the best job that they can be, is going to be important.
And so with that, I also think that moving this focus away from all of the other things related to the mandate and focusing actually on the people and making sure it’s effective and successful is going to be good for all of us. Because at the end of the day, we have to honor Michael and Zaida.
And I think the way we honor them is by making this mission stronger and making this mission more effective, and I think this entire Security Council did that today. And I’m very proud to be a part of it, and I’m very proud to see what we’ve done, how we’ve done it, and I look forward to continuing to work on this issue so that we can make sure that we eventually get them to a peaceful and stable place.