VIENNA, May 17 (Xinhua) -- Participating in international peacekeeping has become one of the fundamental tasks of Austria to support the United Nations, said Austrian Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger in Vienna on Monday.
At the international forum for peace held in the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna, he said that since 1960 Austria has sent over 90,000 soldiers and civilian personnel to participate in more than 80 international peace and humanitarian missions.
Meanwhile, he stressed that Austria would continue to participate in peacekeeping operations in the framework of the United Nations, the Europe Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Safety protection of civilians continues to be given priorities in actions.
Richard Khnel, head of the Representation of the European Commission in Austria, said that the United Nations' peacekeeping operations should further strengthen efforts to protect civilians.
The United Nations' peace operations around the world has scaled up to the "historical peak", the number of peace-keeping personnel rose from 20,000 10 years ago to 124,000 now, said Alain Le Roy, under-secretary-general for peacekeeping operations at the United Nations.
Director of the NATO for Foreign Policy and Security Zoltan Nagy believed that no single agency can deal with today's security challenges. He said"military means alone will not achieve lasting security", military and civil actions therefore should be complementary to each other.
The 40th International Peace Seminar, at the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna on May 16-18, was jointly held by the International Peace Institute (IPI) and the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Around the theme of "UN Peacekeeping in the 21th century: partnerships for peace", the peace seminar this year aims at identifying ways to deal with international crises, by strengthening partnerships among sending states of the UN peace- keeping force, as well as coordination of the United Nations with regional partners.