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Review of UN peacekeeping operations highlights political solutions

UNITED NATIONS, June 16 (Xinhua) -- With more than 100,000 UN peacekeepers stationed around the world, an independent review handed to the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon Tuesday morning has called for increased emphasis on political over military solutions.

"Lasting peace is achieved through political solutions not through military and technical engagements alone," a summary of the report says in its opening paragraph.

The report was authored by a high-level independent panel, appointed by Ban, and led by former President of Timor-Leste Jose Ramos-Horta.

On hand-over of the report, Ban said UN peacekeeping operations now face formidable challenges as the nature of conflict changes and violent extremism spreads, and many of these operations have had to deploy into environments where there is little peace to keep.

"That is why I decided to urgently carry out a fresh review of peace operations -- to look at how the United Nations and its missions must adapt to respond to the rapidly evolving challenges facing humanity today," he said.

It is not yet known how many of the report's recommendations the Secretary-General will support for implementation. So far only a summary of the report has been released publicly.

"The UN today has more than 100,000 peacekeepers around the world," Ramos-Horta told press at a briefing here Tuesday afternoon. "Sadly it doesn't look like it's going to diminish. We don't see an end in sight for many situations."

The report summary made dozens of recommendations including, methods for increasing the capabilities of peacekeeping forces, increasing accountability for peacekeepers who commit abuse, and increasing emphasis on crisis prevention and early mediation.

The report also emphasized the importance of conflict prevention and called for earlier engagement by the Security Council to address emerging threats and support national and regional prevention and mediation efforts.

The issue of abuses committed by peacekeepers was also addressed by Ramos-Horta who said that the UN's credibility was undermined when peacekeepers were not punished for committing abuse.

"The worst thing that can happen to the UN is precisely this kind of situation -- undermine its credibility -- when its strength should be its credibility, to be able to operate in the field," Ramos-Horta said.

Ramos-Horta said that addressing the problem would include " naming names," referring to the UN reporting the names of the countries where UN troops who committed abuses came from.

According to a separate UN report released Monday, the most substantiated allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse against UN uniformed personnel were made against troops from South Africa (9), Uruguay (8) and Nigeria (7) between 2010 and 2013.

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