London, United Kingdom, 8th September 2016.- General Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda, Secretary of National Defence and Admiral Vidal Francisco Soberon Sanz, Secretary of Navy, participate on behalf of Mexico in the UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial, which takes place in the capital city of the UK on 7th - 8th September, in the framework of the UN Peacekeeping Operations (PKO).

As instructed by Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto, Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces and following the reciprocal State visits, both Secretaries attended the Defence Ministerial, delivering a message of unity and fraternity. Likewise, during their working visit the Secretaries of the Armed Forces had a meeting with Michael Cathle Fallon, Secretary of State for Defence and Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, Chief of the Defence Staff.

Amb. Miguel Ruiz Cabañas, Mexican undersecretary for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights from the Mexican Secretariat of Foreign Affairs, also participated in the Defence Ministerial and in parallel held a meeting with Baroness Anelay of St. Johns, Minister of State for the UN and International Organisations, who has under her responsibility areas such as human rights, migration, international energy security policy, climate change and Overseas Territories at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO).

The occasion was favourable to exchange points of view on subjects of interest to both parties such as the Initiative for the Prevention of Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative (PSVI) in which the UK has the greater commitment and in which Mexico is considered a regional "champion" due to its efforts and leadership promoting effective measures against gender violence and sexual violence in conflict, after having signed the Declaration of Commitments to Eradicate Sexual Violence in Armed Conflicts, adopted in September 2013.

The UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial on PKO had at the center of exchanges and debates, subjects such as gender challenges and the prevention of abuse and sexual exploitation, as well as improving PKO and their fast deployment. Thus, the participation of our country responds to the commitment of Mexico in the framework of its participation in the 69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, on 24th September 2014, when President Peña Nieto announced the participation of Mexico on the Peacekeeping Operations (PKO).

Summarizing, the Mexican participation allowed endorsing this commitment, while sharing experiences in training programs linked to the promotion of gender perspective, fast deployment in case of natural disasters, as well as the active participation of our country in the open debate on women at the UN Security Council;  Peace and Security concerning sexual violence in armed conflict, in meetings on this issue at the UN General Assembly, and our participation in the open debate "sexual violence in conflicts", organized by the Peace and Security Council of the African Union (PSC-AU).

The participation of countries in the UN PKO is one of the expressions of Mexico as a State with global responsibility. Our country is the second largest financial contributor of Latin America to the PKO’s budget.

Mexico has participated in three Peacekeeping Operations. Two of them with military observers: in the Balkans (1947-1950) and in Kashmir (border between India and Pakistan) (1949). The third one in El Salvador (1992-1993) where contributed with 120 policemen.

 Currently, Mexico participates with 23 elements in PKO in Haiti, Western Sahara and Lebanon and has allocated 11 observers to the Special Mission of the UN in Colombia, including a female officer. Whilst this last one is not a PKO, the deployment of Mexican officers reflects the commitment of our country not only to peace in Colombia, but with the UN efforts to keep and promote international peace and security.

 Such operations have enabled countries to national reconciliation and the normalisation of their political life, to help rebuild their institutions and to retake the path of development, in a peace frame.