The head of the UN peace mission in Haiti (Minustah), the Chilean diplomat, Juan Gabriel Valdés, says that mission troops will have to stay in the country after the elections at the end of the year to help the new government with reconstruction.
The present Minustah mandate extends to February 15, 2006. The first Minustah troops arrived in Haiti in June 2004.
Valdés says one of Haiti’s problems is that it has a very small police force. “Based on the size of the population, they should have at least 25,000 policemen, but they only have 4,000,” he explains.
Another problem is funding reconstruction. “After the election there should be an international donor meeting to discuss this important issue,” says Valdés.
The UN Security Council has authorized Jordan to send 750 soldiers to join the peace mission in Haiti. According Valdés, other countries are willing to join as well. He cited Peru, Paraguay and some Central American countries.
“We need to ensure security in Haiti during the elections. At the moment, with a few exceptions, the country is calm,” he declared.
“Violent incidents in Haiti are similar to those that take place every day in any developing nation.”
At the moment the peace mission in Haiti has 7,500 soldiers and 1,897 policemen, of which Brazil has the largest group, 1,200 soldiers.
So far Haiti has received US$400 million in international aid, out of US$800 million that was promised, reports Valdés.
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