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#1472: New Mission Approved for Haiti (fwd)


Friday December 17 9:54 PM ET 
 New Mission Approved for Haiti

 By NICOLE WINFIELD Associated Press Writer 

 UNITED NATIONS (AP) - The General Assembly created a new mission to
Haiti on Friday aimed at strengthening its fragile democracy.
 The International Civilian Support Mission in Haiti will replace the
U.N. police training force and international human rights mission, which
have been working to try to bring stability and development to the
Western Hemisphere's poorest country. The yearlong $10.3 million mission
is to help reform Haiti's justice system, professionalize the police,
support human rights and assist in organizing elections. It is also
mandated to coordinate international aid. Haiti has scheduled
legislative elections for March that many hope will end more than two
years of political crisis. Prime Minister Rosny Smarth resigned in 1997
to protest what he said was President Rene Preval's complicity in
tainted legislative elections. In a bid to end the crisis, Preval shut
down Parliament in January and appointed a new prime minister
 and elections council by decree. The crisis has prevented millions of
dollars in foreign aid from reaching Haiti and weakened investor
confidence. The Security Council last month voted to keep the U.N.
civilian police training mission in Haiti only through March 15 to
 provide a transition to the new mission.