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28905: (news) Chamberlain: UN votes to keep troops in Haiti six more months (fwd)
From: Greg Chamberlain <GregChamberlain@compuserve.com>
By Irwin Arieff
UNITED NATIONS, Aug 15 (Reuters) - The Security Council on Tuesday
renewed the mandate of the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Haiti for an
additional six months at about its current size to help keep violence in
check and restore stability.
A resolution drafted by Argentina and adopted unanimously by the
15-nation council authorized the deployment of up to 7,200 troops and as
many as 1,951 international police officers, roughly in line with the
recommendations of U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
But while Annan had called for a 12-month extension of the mission's
mandate, the United States insisted on just a six-month renewal, council
diplomats said. Without council action, the mandate would have expired at
the end of the day.
Annan, who visited Haiti earlier this month, had argued that it would
take at least a year to make progress in improving the legal system and
local and national governance.
As a compromise, the resolution stated the council's "intention to
renew for further periods."
The council had previously imposed a ceiling of 7,500 on mission troop
levels and capped the number of police at 1,897.
The resolution also called for 16 corrections officers to be sent to
Haiti to help upgrade its prison system.
The U.N. mission was sent into Haiti in June 2004 to support an
interim government installed after President Jean-Bertrand Aristide fled
into exile under international pressure.
After new President Rene Preval took office in May, the level of
violence declined only to spike again in July, Annan said in a report sent
to the council earlier this month.
A thriving illegal trade in drugs and arms, gang violence and
kidnappings was likely to remain a problem for some time, requiring
continued international aid, his report said.
Annan has said that previous international aid missions in Haiti
failed because they ended before reforms could take hold.