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Group of Friends will better protect UN peacekeepers: Chinese foreign ministry spokesman

BEIJING, Apr. 30 (Xinhua) — China recently launched the Group of Friends mechanism on the Safety and Security of United Nations (UN) Peacekeepers to strengthen capacity building and further enhance the security of peacekeepers, a spokesman said Friday.

The mechanism is the first of its kind to be co-initiated and co-chaired by China.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a daily press briefing that UN peacekeeping operations are an important tool for maintaining international peace and security, and peacekeepers are valuable assets to international peace.

Over the past 70 years, more than 3,000 peacekeepers from more than 120 countries have lost their lives, Wang said. It is sad to see that so far this year, 49 peacekeepers have sacrificed their lives for the cause of peacekeeping, he added.

Noting that China is the second largest contributor to the UN peacekeeping budget and a major troop contributor to peacekeeping missions, Wang said China has prioritized the safety of peacekeepers.

China has jointly initiated the Group of Friends with 49 countries and regional organizations, including permanent members of the UN Security Council, major countries and major contributors of troops, police and funding for peacekeeping operations, the spokesman said.

“This is intended to provide a platform to strengthen information exchanges, policy coordination and capacity building, further enhance the security of peacekeepers and ensure substantial progress on the peacekeepers’ security agenda,” he added.

“The group is open to all and other member countries are free to contact us if they hope to join the mechanism,” Wang said. “Let’s make joint and persistent efforts to protect peacemakers.”

As this year marks the 50th anniversary of the restoration of China’s legitimate rights at the UN, Wang said China is ready to build on its momentum to firmly defend multilateralism and deepen cooperation with the UN, and contribute more to international peace and security.

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