Press Releases

     

    SG/SM/8940
    PKO/101

    16 October 2003

     

    SECRETARY-GENERAL PAYS TRIBUTE TO CONTRIBUTION OF
    POLISH PEACEKEEPERS, IN MESSAGE TO 30TH ANNIVERSARY
    CELEBRATION IN WARSAW

    NEW YORK, 15 October (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the message of Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the thirtieth anniversary of Poland’s first contribution to United Nations peacekeeping, as delivered today in Warsaw by Colin Glennie, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Poland:

    The anniversary you are celebrating today should inspire pride in every Pole, and gratitude in the rest of the United Nations family.  Thirty years have passed since the advance party of the first Polish contingent of Blue Helmets arrived in the Sinai Peninsula to join the second United Nations Emergency Force.  This marked the beginning of one of the most steadfast troop-contributing traditions among the membership of the United Nations.  Within a few months of that first deployment in 1973, the logistics support unit from Poland had grown to more than 800 troops.

    It is a tradition that continues undiminished to this day.  Today, Poland contributes more than 700 troops, military observers and civilian police to eight peacekeeping missions -- four of them in Africa, two in the Middle East and two in Europe -- making Poland the fourteenth largest troop-contributing country in the United Nations, and the second largest in Europe.

    The world has changed a great deal over these 30 years.  So has the nature of United Nations peacekeeping.  But Poland’s support for our peace operations remains constant, defying the downward trend in troop contributions among many other developed countries.  Your support is thus not only invaluable to the task at hand; it serves as a much needed example to inspire others.

    I express my sincere gratitude to the Government and people of Poland, and above all to the men and women in uniform who have served the cause of peace so faithfully.  I pay tribute to the 45 committed and courageous Poles who gave their lives in the cause of peace.  They made the ultimate sacrifice, and we will always remember them with profound respect.

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