UN doing ‘back channeling’ talks to keep PH peacekeepers safe | Global News

UN doing ‘back channeling’ talks to keep PH peacekeepers safe

/ 06:55 PM August 29, 2014


MANILA, Philippines–Apart from the ongoing negotiations with armed Syrian rebels, the United Nations is also doing “back channeling” to ensure the safety of the peacekeepers detained and  involved in a standoff in Golan Heights.

“The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and his assistant secretaries are contacting, are back channeling, talking to those who are supporting these rebel groups to talk to them and make them stand down and not continue threatening our peacekeepers,” Defense Undersecretary for Defense Operations Natalio Ecarma  told reporters on Friday.


Ecarma was a former commander of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force.


After abducting over 40 Fijian peacekeepers on Thursday, the rebels trooped to the encampments of the Filipino peacekeepers, in Positions 68 and 69, to seek the surrender of their firearms but they resisted. There are 75 Filipino peacekeepers trapped by the rebels until posting time.

Ecarma said they were hoping that the incident would no longer escalate.

“They rebels gave an ultimatum [to Filipino peacekeepers] to surrender their weapons and surrender [within a period given] but they didn’t do anything, so this may be a good indicator that they really do not mean what they say,” he said.

Ecarma also said the rebels’ objective was “most likely” to get weapons and provisions from the peacekeepers.

He added that they won’t engage the rebels unless the lives of the peacekeepers are at stake, because the UN will pursue negotiations rather than to confront.

The military, meanwhile, maintained that the peacekeepers won’t lay down their arms.

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TAGS: Filipino peacekeepers, Global Nation, Golan Heights, Standoff, Syria

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