Georgians as UN Peacekeepers
12 September, 2013
The delegation of Georgia’s Defense Ministry paying an official visit to the United States has been meeting and holding talks with American militaries and politicians. Then they held an official meeting in the UN Headquarters where the Deputy Chief of UN Peacekeeping Edmond Mulet and Georgia’s Defense Minister Irakli Alasania examined the possibility of involving Georgian soldiers in future peacekeeping operations run by the UN around the planet.
Since 1945, the year of the UN’s birth, the UN implemented at least 60 military missions
in various parts of the world. The need in the UN peacekeepers increased from early 1990s, in the wake of Soviet Union’s disintegration and end of the Cold War which brought in a number of armed conflicts. In 1992, the UN established the office for peacekeeping operations which is entrusted with the task of planning peace keeping missions in various conflict zones.
In 1993, in the thick of the Abkhazian war, the UN observer mission came to Georgia and functioned there till 2009. They however were unable to or did not say their final word on either 16 September 1993, when Abkhazians and Russians callously violated the 27 July ceasefire agreement, or 8-12 August 2008, when Russians and Abkhazians occupied the Kodori gorge.
In spite of the UN peace keeping mission’s inability to protect the Georgia’s territorial integrity, involvement of Georgian troops in the ranks of the UN peace keepers should not have been discarded.
In contrast to Iraq and Afghanistan, where the Georgian Government used to send thousands of its troops, seconding just ten or hundred soldiers for UN peace keeping missions should be politically more acceptable, especially when the funds come from the UN.
In the last years, UN peacekeepers mainly perform defensive operations without engaging in armed confrontations in any way. In a telling episode, Austrian UN peacekeepers simply abandoned their positions on the Golan Heights last June just because few shots were fired from the Syrian side.
It is not bad when militaries help other countries to sustain peace processes. Of course, taking too much fancy of the participation in international peace keeping missions would be strange, given the ongoing occupation of Georgian territories.