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#1473: UN General Assembly creates new Haiti mission (fwd)
UN General Assembly creates new Haiti mission
10:51 p.m. Dec 17, 1999 Eastern
UNITED NATIONS, Dec 17 (Reuters) - The U.N. General Assembly approved
on Friday a broad programme to help Haiti build democratic institutions
and bring some economic stability to the impoverished Caribbean nation.
The new operation, called the International Civilian Support Mission in
Haiti, will replace a U.N.-organised international police force that has
been training Haiti's national police. The foreign police, remnants of
a six-year old peacekeeping venture, will leave Haiti by March 15.
The mission, approved by the assembly in a resolution, will include
human rights, election and judicial advisers but no uniformed police. It
is to be coordinated with a long-term development assistance programme.
Current plans call for a staff of about 110, plus some 90
administrators, with an initial mandate of one year at a cost
of $10.3 million for the operation, known by its French acronym, MICAH.
The manoeuvres at the United Nations to move responsibility for Haiti
from the Security Council to the General Assembly were prompted by
China's opposition to a military and police role in Haiti, which has
ties with Taiwan. China, as well as Russia, who also opposed
peacekeepers in Haiti, have veto rights in the Security Council but are
not able to block action in the 188-member General Assembly, where they
have one vote each. Haiti's last elections, for legislative and
municipal posts, were held in April 1997 but were fraught with
irregularities. The winners never took office. Haiti has been without a
parliament since January. The turmoil has held up millions of dollars in
international aid for Haiti, the poorest country in the Western
Hemisphere. The new mission is to begin by giving support to the new
elections and then the judiciary system, which the United States and
Canada believe is lagging far behind the reform of the police force.