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24771: Craig (pub) UN Security Council Mission Arrives in Haiti
UN Security Council Mission Arrives in Haiti
By Amelia Shaw
/13 April 2005/
A delegation from the UN Security Council arrived in Haiti Wednesday to
examine the situation in the troubled Caribbean nation.
Representatives from 10 of the 15 member countries on the UN Security
Council are in Haiti to evaluate the progress of the UN security forces
there. The head of the mission, Ronaldo Sardenberg, Brazil's ambassador
to the U=. nited Nations and the president of the Security Council, says
its goal is to show UN support for Haiti's interim government. Mr.
Sardenberg said the visit also shows that the international community is
following closely the security situation in Haiti.
During its four-day visit, the Security Council delegation will, among
other things, re-evaluate the mandate of the UN security forces in
Haiti, known as MINUSTAH.
Mr. Sardenberg said it is possible that the UN mission will be extended,
to provide increased security during elections in November.
The UN forces have been criticized by some Haitians for failing to stop
the violence in the country.
In the capital, Port-au-Prince, more than 400 people have been killed
since late September in gunfights between supporters and opponents of
former President Jean Bertrand Aristide. Businesses in the downtown
area of the capital have closed, and kidnappings for ransom are on the
rise. In March, two U.N. soldiers were killed during security operations.
Despite the rise in violence, U.N. officials say they have a "profound
conviction" that the U.N. mission is succeeding. U.N. soldiers and
police have been increasingly aggressive in disarming and demobilizing
armed groups. In the last month, U.N. forces have assisted national
police in at least two major security missions in gang-controlled slum
areas. Mr. Sardenberg says the U.N. forces are making Haiti safer.
"The first objective of this mission is help [create] an environment
which is safe and stable, and MINUSTAH is more and more involved in that
process. We noticed that MINUSTAH is doing more and more, and that
despite some incidents in the last two weeks, the fact that there is a
stabilization is quite clear in my mind."
The UN is calling on all political parties which participate in the
national elections to renounce violence so that the democratic process
Mr. Sardenberg says that Haitians also have a responsibility in assuring
the security of their country's future.
"Haiti is a sovereign country. The first obligation is for the
government and the people of Haiti to get hold of this situation that
they will work towards assuming their responsibilities and voting in
elections that must be free, transparent and credible," he added.
The United Nations has more than 7,000 troops in Haiti, most of them
from Latin American countries. The troops were sent after a violent
uprising led to the ouster of former President Aristide in February of