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UN Ambassador Power Urges Europe to Provide More Military Help

By    |   Tuesday, 10 Mar 2015 06:39 PM

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations is urging European countries to increase military spending and provide more peacekeepers, describing defense cuts planned by Britain and others as "very concerning" given "the range and severity of the crises we face today."

In a speech in Brussels Monday, Samantha Power noted very few European governments have met the North Atlantic Treaty Organization goal of spending 2 percent of gross domestic product on defense, The Wall Street Journal reports.

And given "the range and severity of the crises we face today, one could reasonably argue that…proportion should be higher," she argued.

She said with the U.S. spending around 4 percent of the GDP on defense, "this imbalance is not only unsustainable, it is dangerous."

According to the Telegraph, Britain is one of only two nations that have met the 2 percent target so far, despite all NATO members promising to abide by it.

"This is concerning," Power said in a radio interview, the Telegraph reports. "The number of missions that require advanced militaries around the world is growing, not shrinking. Threats are growing more diffuse and requiring more contributions."

In her Brussels speech, Power noted President Barack Obama will bring world leaders together on the sidelines of the next United Nations Assembly General in New York in September to push them to take part in more peacekeeping missions.

"European countries have drawn back from peacekeeping... It is essential each of us does our fair share," Power said. "European governments must contribute their fair share of the military force [and] financial burden necessary to respond to today's crises."

She said the EU government provide around 6,000 troops for peacekeeping missions—less than 7 percent of the total—compared to 25,000 troops—or 40 percent two decades ago.

Poorer countries which have around 12 percent of the world's population make up around 43 percent of U.N. peacekeeping missions, she added.

A "seismic shift" caused by peacekeeping failures in Srebrenica during the war in the former Yugoslavia and in Rwanda in the 1990s was partly to blame for the European reluctance, Power said.

But she urged Europe to contribute again, saying that with 35,000 European troops in Afghanistan four years ago, "U.N. peacekeeping would benefit exponentially" from that experience.

Power becomes the latest official to warn of the risk of cutting defense budgets, the Telegraph reports.

Peter Wall, the former head of Britain's Army, has recently urged the government to stop further cuts, and the Royal United Services Institute warning the Army risked falling to its lowest level of manpower in 250 years, the Telegraph reports.

Agence France-Presse contributed to this report.

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The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations is urging European countries to increase military spending and provide more peacekeepers, describing defense cuts planned by Britain and others as "very concerning" given "the range and severity of the crises we face today."
ambassador, united nations, samantha power, urges, europt, increase, military, spending, soldiers
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2015-39-10
Tuesday, 10 Mar 2015 06:39 PM
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