[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
25354: Hermantin(news)U.S. official: Troops must be proactive (fwd)
From: leonie hermantin <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Posted on Fri, Jun. 10, 2005
U.S. official: Troops must be proactive
The U.N. Mission in Haiti must be more aggressive to stop violence, a top U.S.
official said on a visit. Many Haitians derisively call the peacekeepers `Blue
Helmets on vacation.'
BY CHANTAL REGNAULT AND JOE MOZINGO
PORT-AU-PRINCE - The State Department's top official for the Americas Thursday
urged U.N. peacekeepers in Haiti to be more ''proactive'' in squelching ''a
coordinated campaign of criminality''' that is undermining efforts to restore
peace to this troubled Caribbean nation.
Speaking at the airport at the end of an overnight visit, Deputy Assistant
Secretary of State Roger Noriega said it was critical that the 7,400-member
U.N. Mission secure the country for elections scheduled for the fall.
''The U.N. forces are here to create a sense of order,'' Noriega said. ``That
is not possible if they are not more proactive.
''The rights of the vast majority of the Haitian people are being violated by
the ones who spread violence . . . It's a deadly destabilization plan,''
Noriega said at a news conference.
Noriega's comments echoed the sentiments of many Haitians who see the
peacekeepers as too passive in the face of an onslaught of kidnappings,
carjackings and shootouts. Many derisively call the troops ``Blue Helmets on
Noriega declined to answer a question about whether Washington planned to send
U.S. troops to Haiti to bolster the U.N. Mission, known by its French acronym
of MINUSTAH, as some Haitian leaders have requested.
''Of course, we would never comment on security plans that we would be
considering,'' he said, adding that the mission must take ``necessary measures
to meet its mandate.''
The U.N. troops arrived in June 2004 -- replacing a three-month deployment of
U.S. Marines -- to restore order following the ouster of President
Jean-Bertrand Aristide during an armed revolt in February.
Supporters of Aristide depict the international troops as an occupying force
doing the bidding of an anti-Aristide transitional government.
In the capital's slums, pro-Aristide gangs are fighting the U.N. peacekeepers
with automatic and semiautomatic weapons.
ACROSS THE BOARD
But a recent report by the International Crisis Group, an independent group
based in Brussels, says there are all types of people seeding unrest in Haiti,
from drug traffickers and ordinary criminals to wealthy families and Aristide
political opponents who fear his Lavalas Family Party might sweep the upcoming
Noriega was joined at the news conference by U.S. Ambassador James B. Foley as
well as top Canadian and French diplomats. The group said it was committed to
holding elections on time to ensure that a new, democratic government is in
place by February.
''We are here together to send a strong message: We want the elections to take
place in time,'' said Denis Coderre, special advisor to Canadian Prime Minister
Daniel Parfait, a French special envoy to Haiti, said social programs were
desperately needed in the slums where much of the unrest is centered.
''Elections will not change everything,'' he said, ``but nothing can change
Herald staff writer Joe Mozingo reported from Miami, and special correspondent
Chantal Regnault reported from Port-au-Prince.