UN SG Antonio Guterres extends condolences to King Mohammed VI over death of two Moroccan peacekeepers
The United Nations paid tribute to the men and women serving under its flag in some of the most dangerous places in the world during a ceremony in New York on Thursday to mark the International Day of UN Peacekeepers.
During the ceremony, Morocco’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Omar Hilale, received the Dag Hammarskjold medal from the hands of the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, in tribute to the valiant Moroccan blue helmets who died defending the principles and universal values of peace and stability under the UN banner.
On this painful occasion, Guterres instructed Hilale to convey his sincere condolences to King Mohammed VI, Supreme Chief and Chief of the General Staff of the Royal Armed Forces, and to express to him the sincere gratitude of the United Nations for the continued support of the Kingdom of Morocco to peacekeeping operations.
This tribute is a recognition of the pioneering role played by Morocco in peacekeeping in Africa and around the world, under the far-sighted leadership of King Mohammed VI.
Guterres also instructed Hilale to convey his condolences to the families of the deceased, namely late Lieutenant Mohamed Zerrik and the late Sergeant Rachid Marchich who served with the Royal Armed Forces contingent deployed with the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA).
Hilale hailed on the occasion the memory of the honorable peacekeepers who “made the ultimate sacrifice in defending the noblest of all causes, peace”.
While expressing, on behalf of the Kingdom of Morocco, “its sincere condolences to the bereaved families of our brave brothers and to our large family of United Nations peacekeeping forces”, the Moroccan diplomat expressed his feelings of solidarity and compassion to the members of these families.
He noted that the memory of these valiant soldiers, “proud to serve the supreme interests of humanity with passion, a great sense of responsibility and values of high duty, will live forever in our hearts”.
Morocco currently deploys more than 1,700 soldiers and police agents in UN operations in the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan and South Sudan.
Secretary-General António Guterres began the commemoration of the International Day of UN Peacekeepers by laying a wreath at the Peacekeepers Memorial at UN Headquarters, in homage of the more than 4,200 blue helmets who have sacrificed their lives over the past seven decades.
He also honored the 117 peacekeepers who died last year.
“Our fallen colleagues came from 42 different countries and diverse backgrounds. But they were united by a common cause: peace,” he said.
The International Day of UN Peacekeepers is observed annually on May 29 to celebrate the contribution of uniformed and civilian personnel serving at field operations.