Indonesia to send up to 10,000 for UN peacekeeping mission

Indonesia to send up to 10,000 for UN peacekeeping mission

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (right) and Ban Ki-moon (left). (ANTARA/Widodo S. Jusuf)

Bogor, West Java (ANTARA News) - Indonesia intends to send up to 10 thousand personnel to join UN peacekeeping missions, becoming one of the 10 largest contributors of peacekeeping forces, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said.

"We now have a more challenging goal to become one of the 10 countries in the world to contribute up to 10,000 peacekeeping forces," he said in his introductory speech prior to visiting UN

Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon delivered his speech on "UN Peacekeeping, Challenges and Opportunities for Indonesia" here on Tuesday.

To meet the target, President Yudhoyono said Indonesia is developing a peacekeeping mission center on a 261.712 thousand-hectare plot of land in Citeureup, Sentul, Bogor, West Java.

He noted that the project, which has been underway since 2010, is expected to be completed in the 2014 fiscal year.

Besides being a peacekeeping mission center, the location will also be used as a training center for swift-moving forces, anti-terror units, language training and natural disaster mitigation, and will include a defense university and military sports centers.

The center, which was dedicated on December 19, 2011, is expected to function as a training center for peacekeeping forces that will be sent abroad.

President Yudhoyono said peacekeeping forces must not only have military skills, but also the skills to understand the local culture and language of the places where they are assigned.

"They have to be able to work with military forces from various countries, have anti-terror skills and know about peacekeeping. They also must have knowledge of the culture and language of the people [resident in the locations] to which they have been assigned," he affirmed.

Indonesia has currently deployed approximately 1.9 thousand peacekeeping personnel to Lebanon under the UN flag.

Ban Ki-Moon, meanwhile, was surprised when he visited the Peacekeeping Mission Center. At lunch, he received a traditional rice cone (a special menu generally served at anniversary events) to mark his 41st wedding anniversary.

Ban Ki-Moon, who is visiting Indonesia along with his wife Ban Soon-Taek, was given the honor of cutting the rice cone, while President Yudhoyono looked on.