President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych chaired a meeting of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine dedicated to the subject of sending peacekeeping forces of Ukraine to Côte d'Ivoire to support the UN peacekeeping operation. 

President Yanukovych reminded that on January 19, 2011, the UN Security Council had unanimously adopted Resolution 1967 to increase its peacekeeping mission in Côte d'Ivoire. 

Thus, Viktor Yanukovych said, the disagreements between certain parties on the ways to overcome the crisis in this country were permanently put an end to. 

The President also reminded that in addition to the official note of the UN Secretariat to Ukraine as a contributor to security of the subregion, Ukraine has received personal appeal to strengthen support for the UN peacekeeping force there from the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. 

"The UN highly appreciates the important contribution of our country in supporting global peace and security through participation in peacekeeping initiatives," he said, adding that the UN Secretary-General noted Ukraine’s active role in promoting reduction of global tensions and creating trust and confidence. 

"It is especially important in cases, when civil conflicts in other countries of the world transform into full-scale wars that lead to humanitarian disasters. First of all, it concerns the African continent, where the problem of ethnic and religious confrontation has become chronic. Their danger lies in the fact that nowadays, not only do they threaten regional security, but also adversely affect global stability," Viktor Yanukovych said, reminding of dramatic exacerbation of the situation in Côte d'Ivoire after the presidential election. 

In general, the President said, there is a serious danger of chain-reaction destabilization of the situation in some countries of West Africa. 

Considering the specifics of the region, namely extreme poverty, numerous local and regional military and ethnic conflicts that can lead to large-scale humanitarian catastrophe in Africa, Ukraine's participation in the UN peacekeeping operations will be a stabilizing factor," he said, presidential press office reported. 

Viktor Yanukovych noted that the UN is now taking all possible measures to stabilize the situation in Côte d'Ivoire. 

President Yanukovych said that Resolution 1967 authorized the increase of peacekeeping contingent in the country by another 2000 troops, continuation of the peacekeeping service of two military transport helicopters Mi-8MT with crews, and temporary relocation of three military attack helicopters Mi-24 with crews from the UN Mission in Liberia to the UN mission in Côte d'Ivoire. 

"The problem is that there are no other similar combat helicopters in the region, except those ours," Viktor Yanukovych said. 

Providing his arguments to support Ukraine's participation in the UN peacekeeping operation, President Yanukovych reminded that the UN Security Council resolutions have the highest legitimacy and are mandatory for all member-countries of the Organization. 

“Ukraine is a peacekeeping country. This is recognized around the world. We have taken part in more than 20 peacekeeping operations under the UN auspices. At that time, Ukraine is taking part in the UN peacekeeping operations covering 11 countries, and there had already been decisions to redeploy our forces from Liberia to Côte d'Ivoire to support UN mission there," Viktor Yanukovych said. 

"It will also allow maintaining the combat readiness of our units," Viktor Yanukovych added. 

The President noted separately that the Ukrainian military have an extensive peacekeeping experience. This is especially true for our helicopter crews that know the area well and have made 80 hours of operation flights in 2010. 

"Given the fact that we are to continue performing peacekeeping duties in the West African region and from the perspective of the growing economic presence of Ukraine in Africa, I am sure that our decision to strengthen support for the UN peacekeepers in Côte d'Ivoire meets our national interests and substantially strengthens Ukraine’s position on the international scene," he said. 

At the same time, President Yanukovych reminded of some Ukrainian politicians’ concerns that in case of a civil war in Côte d'Ivoire, the Ukrainian peacekeepers would be forced to take part in the armed conflict, and the lives of our soldiers would be under threat. 

"I certainly would like to hear your assessment. But in any case, we should think of possible additional measures to improve safety,” he said.


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