Yury Fedotov

Director-General/Executive Director

Austria : A Vital Partner for Peacekeeping for 50 Years

Press Conference on 50 Years of Austrian Peacekeeping

Vienna , 25 October 2010

Your Excellency Defense Minister Darabos,

Generals and Officers,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is an honour to be here today to celebrate 50 years of Austrian participation in UN peacekeeping.

Peacekeeping is central to the United Nations mission of maintaining international peace and security. Today's peacekeepers monitor cease-fires, but they also carry out tasks that are crucial to peace-building.  Peacekeepers clear landmines and demobilize combatants. They deliver aid and repatriate refugees. Peacekeepers also play a key role in humanitarian and disaster relief operations. In 1988, the United Nations Peacekeeping Forces received the Nobel Peace Prize.

Austria is a vital member of the UN peacekeeping community.  Since 1960, more than 90,000 Austrian troops have supported UN peacekeeping and humanitarian missions around the world. Today, hundreds of Austrian peacekeepers are helping to restore peace and security in Africa, Asia and Europe.

I would like to thank Austria's current and former peacekeepers for their dedicated service.  Their work is dangerous and stressful, but it is critical to ensuring sustainable peace.  Austria's commitment to the ideals of the United Nations is embodied by individual Austrian peacekeepers at all levels.

Austria 's peacekeepers make a real difference in people's lives. Thanks to them, children can go to school, women can safely walk the streets, and citizens can vote in elections. It is an honour to celebrate their service.

Criminals and drug traffickers take advantage of countries weakened by war or disasters-and they make conditions worse. To stop this from happening, we need to integrate drug and crime control into peacekeeping missions. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime strengthens peace and stability by combating narcotics, organized crime, trafficking and corruption. The work of UNODC complements the efforts of peacekeepers. Together, we support the security and development agenda of the United Nations.

Austria has long been a major supporter of the United Nations, and it is no surprise that Austria has been elected for a third time to serve as a non-permanent member of the Security Council.

The Government of Austria and the City of Vienna have also been generous hosts to the United Nations in Vienna for over 30 years. With your help, the Vienna International Centre has become an important hub for human security issues. On behalf of the United Nations, I am very pleased to thank Austria for its longstanding support.

I would also like to wish you all the best for tomorrow's 55th celebration of Austrian National Day.

Thank you.