Brazil Readies Fresh Troops for Haiti Mission

The fifth contingent of Brazilian soldiers to serve in the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) will leave Brazil in May.

The group will consist of 850 soldiers, most of them from the northeastern states of Pernambuco, Bahia, Rio Grande do Norte, Alagoas and Ceará.

Another 225 marines stationed in Rio de Janeiro will join them.

The soldiers serve in Haiti for six months where they provide security for conveys and authorities, and seek to maintain public harmony in general.

According to a military spokesman, captain Danilo Hereda, the biggest problem in Haiti that Brazilian troops face at the moment is gang action. "These are armed groups that are a threat to the peace and the country’s authorities," he declared.

The president elect of Haiti, René Préval, during his visit to Brasí­lia, earlier this month, expressed his gratitude for the assistance Brazil has given his country in reestablishing democracy and called for the continued presence of Brazilian troops as part of the UN Stabilization Mission (MINUSTAH) in his country.

"The troops are important. Our country is going through a critical moment. We hope that the democratic process will be operational soon," declared Préval.

Speaking in the Brazilian Congress, he asked opposition members to support the presence of Brazilian soldiers in Haiti because otherwise the situation there could become very complicated.

Préval said he saw his visit to Brasilia as an opportunity to strengthen ties between the two nations. "We have a lot of potentially interesting projects in agriculture and infrastructure. I intend to reinforce bilateral cooperation and get things moving," he said.

Préval met with members of the Senate Foreign Relations and Defense Commission. According to the president of the commission, Roberto Saturnino, "Brazil is a nation that wants to occupy a strong position in favor of peace, international law and justice. We see our mission in Haiti as an example of this position. It is a mission of peace, democracy, cooperation and justice. We are proud of what we are doing and certain that our troops and diplomacy will be successful there." said the senator.

Agência Brasil

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