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"This is something that our peacekeeping missions cannot achieve alone," says Jean-Pierre Lacroix. "What we need is much stronger efforts by our member states, a much stronger unity to take these political efforts forward ... so that there will be progress in the quest for political solutions."

by Xinhua writer Wang Jiangang

UNITED NATIONS, Nov. 27 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations (UN) is eager to strengthen its peacekeeping cooperation with China, UN Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix has said.

Speaking to Xinhua in an interview prior to the 2021 UN Peacekeeping Ministerial to be held in South Korea on Dec. 7-8, the UN peacekeeping chief said "China is already helping us a lot in many ways, and the deployment of Chinese troops in many missions is critically important."

In addition to that, China's engagement in the safety and security of peacekeepers also bears great significance, Lacroix noted.

Recalling his reviewing of the guard of honor of the 7th Chinese peacekeeping infantry battalion in South Sudan in September, Lacroix said "it was a great opportunity to be there and to meet the Chinese peacekeepers."

"They're doing an excellent job," he said, adding "that is extremely beneficial to the country and to the population of South Sudan."

The UN peacekeeping chief called on them to keep up the good work, saying "this important mission plays a vital role" as South Sudan is challenged on many fronts, such as security and humanitarian issues, among others.

"We look forward to having China continuing this deployment in South Sudan," he added.

"Given the threats and the difficulty in which those missions are operating, we need to make sure that we bring peacekeeping up to standard," Lacroix said.

"I think countries like China can help us there because they have the means, the capacity, the expertise, the training, the skill sets," he added.

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Turning to the Peacekeeping Ministerial, Lacroix called on all the UN members to fully participate in and support the world body's efforts in peacekeeping, expressing his hope that as many member states will be represented at the highest possible level, "because that would be a signal of support, of political support and commitment to peacekeeping."

The UN is currently engaged in a number of efforts to improve the impact and effectiveness of peacekeeping, the under-secretary-general said. "Those efforts have to do with improving the protection of our peacekeepers, and the effectiveness of our action on the ground."

Referring to the Action for Peacekeeping Plus (A4P+) initiative, an upgraded version of Action for Peacekeeping initiative launched by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in 2018, Lacroix said "after three years, we decided that it was important to take stock of what had been achieved, but also what were the main challenges, the main areas in which more efforts needed to be done."

The priorities of the A4P+ "have to do with the need for a more integrated approach to peacekeeping, in other words, making sure that the various components of our peacekeeping missions work better together in a more integrated manner," he said.

Noting the A4P+ emphasizes improving communications, he said the UN also wants to put more emphasis on improving relations with the host governments, adding that more efforts will be made "to increase the number of women in peacekeeping and improve the use of digital technology."

Lacroix also highlighted the importance of the unity among member states.

Every peacekeeping operation, no matter what mandate is, is deployed to support political efforts, and the achievement of political and durable solutions is quite important, he said.

"This is something that our peacekeeping missions cannot achieve alone," said Lacroix. "What we need is much stronger efforts by our member states, a much stronger unity to take these political efforts forward ... so that there will be progress in the quest for political solutions."

Noting that the threats facing UN peacekeepers are increasing, Lacroix said he was happy to see that the UN Security Council has adopted an important resolution on the safety and security of the UN peacekeepers.

"We need to do much more," the UN peacekeeping chief highlighted.

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