The defence minister’s meetings included talks with the head of UN peacekeeping operations, Hervé Ladsous. “We were happy to offer transportation support to strengthen the UN’s ability to provide security in South Sudan after the unrest that broke out in the country. This will take place within a cooperative arrangement on international flight hours. At the UN’s request, we have offered flight hours to carry essential equipment and personnel into the country to secure UN camps and increase the UN’s ability to protect civilians. We want to explore the possibility of cooperating with other countries on how best to meet urgent transport needs in connection with reinforcing UNMISS. Additional needs may arise later. The Norwegian contribution has a cost framework of approximately NOK 30 million,” says Eriksen Søreide.
Recognition to Norway
Developments in the Middle East were also discussed in the meeting with Mr Ladsous.
“Mr Ladsous expressed great appreciation for Norway’s willingness and ability to offer its services to the UN and OPCW in connection with transporting chemical weapons out of Syria,” says Eriksen Søreide.
“I also received an update on the situation in the Sahel region and on the status of the UN operation in Mali (MINUSMA), where Norway is in the process of deploying staff personnel for the newly created intelligence and analysis unit. This is pioneering work in the UN context, so it is very exciting for Norway to be part of developing it,” says the defence minister.
UN “taking steps”
“The meetings at UN Headquarters have given me a clear picture of UN peacekeeping operations that have grown more complex as a result of intrastate conflicts, a larger presence of asymmetrical threats and a wider range of UN mission types. My impression is that the UN is now taking steps to adapt to this situation, with more emphasis on intelligence, use of modern technology and robust operational concepts. Such steps are crucial if the UN is to protect the civilian population in conflict areas. We also discussed measures taken by the UN to ensure security for UN personnel,” Defence Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide says.