Celebration of Peacekeeping Operations Centre Day
Friday, 15.11.2019 | Culture and traditions
Minister of Defence Aleksandar Vulin and Deputy Chief of General Staff of the Serbian Armed Forces Major General Petar Cvetković, with members of their boards, attended a celebration held in barracks “Banjica 2” today to mark 17th November – Day of Peacekeeping Operations Centre.
Congratulating the holiday, Minister Vulin underlined the significance of participation of our country in peacekeeping operations, highlighting that as soon as Serbian state had gotten stronger and more powerful, we recommenced bringing peace.
- From the moment when President Aleksandar Vučić, our present Supreme Commander, became the minister of defence, considerably larger investments and increase of the number of our members started, as well as the number of missions in which we participated. We are proud of that, and it shows how much our country has grown in strength, to what extent the armed forces became more powerful, to what extend we as a society are safer and more secure – Minister Vulin stressed.
According to him “when someone tasks you to maintain or establish peace in his country, that does not demonstrate the confidence in your materiel, arms and equipment, and not even in your training, but it rather shows the confidence in you, your state, your people and you as men who will never break their word, and let down, forget, surrender and abandon those who came to ask from you to survive, remain and last.
- The United Nations flag that you carry is carried together with the flag of Serbia, and it is carried with the flag of the people whose ancient tradition says that disarmed enemy becomes a guest, and the one who asked you to help him save his head and honour in the moment of trouble, becomes a part your family and his safety, honour are as valuable as yours. Such is the tradition of your people. You have never forgotten both in the past and now, nor will you ever forget in the future, the ancient tradition of your people that both life and honour are protected to the ones in trouble. You are not like the ones who soiled the UN flag in Croatia, fleeing and moving away in front of criminal action “Oluja”, letting our people and the weak ones be killed, allowing those from whom you should and had to protect even Serbian children, to pass through your lines. You have never and you will never soil your flag or the UN flag, wherever you are, unlike the ones who, while protecting Srebrenica, allowed Naser Orić to break from it and slit throats and kill all over Podrinje, unpunished, protected, safeguarded. You have never and you will never allow blood thirsty criminals and killers such as Naser Orić to walk through your lines, and burden your souls and honour with the gouged eyes of judge Ilić and slaughtered children of Podrinje. You will protect everybody’s head, everybody’s life and everybody’s honour – Minister Vulin sent a message.
If someone comes to you in the moment of trouble and asks from you to provide him security and safety – Minister Vulin said addressing the gathered peacekeepers – when someone asks from you to grant him that sacred right when feeble and weak ones ask from powerful and stronger ones to be preserved and protected, you will grant that right to him and protect him as the ancient tradition of the Serbian people demands.
- That is how it was, that is how it is, and that is how it shall be. Because of that, wherever you go, wherever you walk, wherever you come back from, think about the fact that it is not materiel, equipment and training that you leave behind, but you leave a good and great name, the honourable name of the Serbian people that was never associated with treason or abandoning the weak and powerless. That is why armed forces are great, just like our people is great and worthy of lasting. Wherever you go, take care of yourselves, and return to those who truly love you, take care of yourselves so that you can last and live and have someone to tell about what you have seen, learnt and protected – the minister of defence concluded.
According to Head of Peacekeeping Operations Centre Colonel Milivoje Pajović, today’s holiday is an opportunity to commemorate the glorious names and great deeds of previous generations, the first steps made in the sand of Sinai 63 years ago, and all those who laid their lives under the flag of the UN for a better and more peaceful world. Looking back on the importance of participation of our members in peacekeeping operations over previous six decades, Lutenant Pajović pointed out that 14,265 individuals in total were deployed over 22 rotations. Yugoslavia gave some 22 per cent of forces in Sinai, being the most numerous and the best equipped part of international peacekeeping forces.
- Today, the Centre for Peacekeeping Operations marks its day, today when we are waving our flag high in nine missions all over the world, we emphasise that behind every military observer, team, platoon or company, there are hours and days of arduous preparations and training, which are among others run by the Centre for Peacekeeping Operations – Colonel Pajović stressed adding that the courses of that centre were recognised in the region and fully adapted to complex requirements set for the individuals, teams and units.
The minister of defence awarded 71 military memorial medals for participation in peacekeeping operations which he presented to rewarded peacekeepers at today’s ceremony.
On behalf of the rewarded, Colonel Jadranko Jukić addressed the present. He participated in two peacekeeping missions and he expressed his gratitude for the opportunity which had been given to them to be the members of UN and EU forces in multinational operations where their responsible work on highly demanding duties had been subsequently recognised.
- We, the participants of peacekeeping operations are confident that the members of the Ministry of Defence and Serbian Armed Forces will achieve significant results in future deployments as well, and worthily represent the state of Serbia, Ministry of Defence and Serbian Armed Forces, to the pride of their ancestors and veterans, and the pride of our families too – Colonel Jukić sent the message.
Guests at today’s ceremony also included Head of Division for External Relations of the EU Military Staff Colonel Bernard Markey, who speaking about the challenges of participation in peacekeeping operations, pointed out that he had had an opportunity to cooperate with Serbian peacekeepers and be personally assured of their excellence. Also, he thanked for the contribution given by our members by their participation in EU peacekeeping operations, hoping that such a good cooperation would be continued in the future.
Director of the UN Office in Serbia Simona-Mirela Miculescu congratulated the Centre for Peacekeeping Operations for the hitherto exceptional work and she added that Serbian peacekeepers had gained a respectable reputation in the UN, as the region’s greatest force contributing country, particularly praising the increased number of women among our peacekeepers.
- I wish you happy holiday, and I congratulate you on the job excellently done and I also wish you success in all your future endeavours – Miculescu emphasised.
All over the world, the holiday was observed by 280 Serbian peacekeepers, who are currently deployed to 9 UN and EU missions.
At today’s celebration, already traditional place was taken by veterans of peacekeeping missions from YNA detachments in Sinai.
Day of the Peacekeeping Operations Centre was established in memory of 17th November 1956 when an advance party of the first Yugoslav detachment disembarked in Sinai. The detachment consisted of 44 members. That peacekeeping operation initiated the participation of Yugoslav forces in peacekeeping missions.