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Egypt not opposed to essence of UN resolution combating sex abuse by peacekeepers

Egypt says it abstained from voting because the resolution was put forward in a 'suspicious manner' and amounts to 'collective punishment'

Ahram Online , Thursday 17 Mar 2016
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Egypt has said it is not opposed to the objective of a UN resolution on the repatriation of peacekeeping units over sexual abuse allegations, but abstained from voting partly because the resolution undermines the right of countries with peacekeeping units to take part in drafting regulations and amounts to "collective punishment."

The UN Security Council adopted a resolution last week to repatriate peacekeeping units whose soldiers face allegations of sexual abuse.

The US-drafted resolution was passed by 14 votes in the 15-member body, with Egypt abstaining.

Foreign ministry spokesman Ahmed Abou Zeid said Egypt "supports the objective of the resolution and has no objection" to it, but sought amendments to the criteria for the repatriation of entire contingents.

"Egypt has no interest in defending crime or violations," Abou Zeid said in television comments Wednesday.

Abu Zeid argued that the resolution "undermines the right of countries with peacekeeping forces to take part in drafting rules regulating their contingents," stressing that most such countries are not members of the UN Security Council and thus have no rights to vote.

"They have the right to take part in drafting regulations controlling the performance of their forces," he said.

Abou Zeid said the criteria of repatriating a whole peacekeeping unit because one member committed in sexual violation amounted to "a pattern of collective punishment."

"It is not rational that a unit of 1,000 or 1,500 personnel be pulled out because one solider committed a violation," he said.

The amendments Egypt proposed involve three measures, including opening a probe, ensuring countries punish their violating personnel, and notifying UN secretary general of the results of investigations.

Egypt's amendment won only five votes and was opposed by nine council members, including the United States.

Abu Zeid added that the resolution was put forward in a "suspicious manner after the US requested voting within two days," which he regards a hasty action when deciding on the "fates of countries."

He implied that the resolution serves the United States' interests, saying that Washington already has plans before the UN General Assembly to cut down its spending on peacekeeping forces.

"The US and major countries in the UN do not want to pay their contributions in this regard," Abou Zeid said, adding that there has been a shortage of peacekeeping units in many conflict zones.

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