[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
#3140: UN May Have To Close Haiti Mission (fwd)
Wednesday April 5 7:42 PM ET
UN May Have To Close Haiti Mission
By EDITH M. LEDERER, Associated Press Writer
UNITED NATIONS (AP) - U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan warned
Wednesday that a new U.N. mission to help promote human rights and
organize elections in Haiti may have to close because the United States
hasn't kept its promise to help pay for it. In a letter to the General
Assembly president, Annan said the civilian mission, started March 16 to
help bring development and democracy to Haiti, has been unable to do its
job because it didn't have enough money. Annan suggested the 188 U.N.
members may want to transfer the mission's duties to the U.N.
Development Program, which already runs democratic governance,
poverty and environmental programs in Haiti.
U.N. spokesman David Wimhurst said the secretary-general's message was
that ``we should be prepared for a worst-case scenario if the funding
doesn't come through.''
Canada's deputy U.N. Ambassador Michel Duval said canceling the mission
would be ``pretty unwelcome at this stage because of developments in
Haiti.'' At least 60 violent incidents have occurred since October.
Haiti has no parliament at present, local and legislative elections have
been postponed three times, and Haitian President Rene Preval has failed
to set a date for new elections. The new U.N. operation, also charged
with helping to reform the justice system, replaced a three-year mission
to train Haiti's national police force. The Haitian force was
established in 1995 to replace a corrupt army that killed as many as
4,000 people.The General Assembly set a budget of nearly $24 million
budget for the mission's first year; the U.N. was to contribute $9.2
million and $14.7 million was to come from contributions, primarily by
the United States and Canada. Wimhurst said the only money that's been
received so far is an initial $600,000 contribution from Canada.
The Clinton administration wants to transfer some $7.5 million in money
that wasn't used in earlier Haiti programs and is currently held in U.N.
trust funds. But it is unclear whether the U.S. Congress needs to
approve the transfer. A U.S. official, speaking on condition of
anonymity, said ``the United States remains committed to providing its
voluntary contributions to the U.N. for the new Haiti mission.''``We
continue to consult with Congress in order to make these funds available
as soon as possible,'' the U.S. official said.Annan noted in the letter
that the U.N. has increasingly authorized missions and programs without
providing the necessary funds. Two major U.N. peacekeeping operations -
in Kosovo and East Timor - are consistently running out of money.