United Nations: French diplomat Alain Le Roy is U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s choice to become the newest peacekeeping chief.
Le Roy, who has been helping French president Nicolas Sarkozy’s administration bolster its ties with North Africa, was tapped to succeed Jean-Marie Guehenno. Le Roy has worked as an oil engineer for French energy company Total.
The decision keeps the high-profile job of U.N. undersecretary-general for peacekeeping operations within France’s portfolio. France, which considers its support for peacekeeping and human rights among its top priorities, pays 7% of the peacekeeping department’s US$7.5 billion budget and contributes nearly 2,000 troops.
That makes it the fifth-biggest financial contributor to U.N. peacekeeping, behind the 26% paid by the U.S, 17% by Japan, 9% by Germany and 8% by Britain. France is the 10th-biggest troop contributor, far behind the more than 10,000 contributed by Pakistan and more than 9,000 each from Bangladesh and India.
The 55-year-old Le Roy, who also has extensive experience in the Balkans, takes over a department facing the challenge of running some 20 peacekeeping operations with more than 100,000 personnel.
That is a roughly 10-fold increase from the start of the 1990s. The U.N. marked 60 years of peacekeeping operations in May, with Guehenno cautioning that the famous “blue helmets” may be stretched too thin. The U.N. relies on member nations to contribute troops, police and gear.
Guehenno at times disagreed with the U.N. Security Council on the wisdom of sending peacekeeping missions into war zones where peace is elusive.