May 29 marks the International Day of UN Peacekeepers. On May 27, 2011, Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, released the following statement:
"On the International Day of UN Peacekeepers, the United States salutes the brave men and women who prevent conflict, save lives, and provide hope to countless vulnerable people while serving under the flag of the United Nations. More than 120,000 military, police, and civilian peacekeepers currently serve in 14 peacekeeping operations around the world. For more than six decades, UN peacekeeping missions have formed the last line of defense between violent groups and vulnerable populations. In the performance of this honorable mission, UN military, police and civilian personnel have risked and lost their lives. Just today, a convoy of peacekeepers was attacked in the south of Lebanon, an act of violence that the United States condemns in the strongest possible terms. Today and every day, we honor peacekeepers' sacrifices and reaffirm our unwavering support for their lifesaving work.
"As we pay tribute to peacekeepers for strengthening our common security, we remain committed to crucial peacekeeping reform. Our continuing efforts include providing peacekeeping missions with clear and credible mandates and the means to implement them. Peacekeepers must be authorized and able to defend themselves and innocent civilians from attack. The United States honors the memories of those who have lost their lives in the line of duty and commends all those who risk their lives daily in the cause of peace."