[ In what appears to be a loss of nerve, Brazil’s Lula said, “his country was prepared to take command of the U.N. force and send 1,470 troops if the international community made a commitment to rebuild Haiti.” The commitment may represent capitulation of the socialist leader, and acceptance of the recent U.S.-supported coup in Haiti. On the other hand, Lula doesn’t aim to facilitate a return of Aristide, does he? (Note the reference to “a … rebellion [that] led the country’s first democratically elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, to flee in February.” No mention of the coercive role the U.S. played in Aristide’s departure.) –BL ]
Council Authorizes U.N. Mission in Haiti
by EDITH M. LEDERER
UNITED NATIONS (AP) – The Security Council authorized a wide-ranging U.N. mission in Haiti Friday with more than 8,000 troops and police, as well as political and human rights experts to help stabilize the troubled Caribbean nation.
The U.N. mission will start on June 1 for an initial period of six months, but the council said it intends to renew the mandate, a signal of its agreement with Secretary-General Kofi Annan that a long-term U.N. commitment is essential to turn Haiti into a functioning democracy.
The U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti – to be known as MINUSTAH – is the latest in a string of international plans to help Haiti. Despite those efforts, the country remains unstable, undeveloped and the Western Hemisphere’s poorest.
Ten international missions to Haiti have failed in the last decade because of a lack of sustained commitment, the U.N. special envoy to Haiti, Reginald Dumas, said in March.
“I hope with this we’ll be there for the long haul and not lose patience as we did in the past,” Chile’s U.N. Ambassador Heraldo Munoz said Friday.
The resolution adopted unanimously by the council authorized up to 6,700 troops and 1,622 international police, as Annan requested, but U.N. officials have stressed it will take time to reach those ceilings.
The U.N. military contingent will replace the 3,600-strong U.S.-led multinational force sent to Haiti after a three-week rebellion led the country’s first democratically elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, to flee in February.
The resolution commended the rapid deployment of the multinational force – which also includes contingents from Canada, Chile and France – “and the stabilization efforts it has undertaken.”
But the council said “the situation in Haiti continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security in the region.”
U.S. deputy ambassador Stuart Holliday said he was “very pleased” with the resolution and hoped it would encourage countries to contribute troops.
Many countries were waiting for a strong statement from the council, and “we think this will help,” he said.
Munoz said Chile, Brazil and other Latin American nations would likely contribute troops. He said there were offers from outside the region as well, though he wouldn’t identify any other countries.
Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said last week his country was prepared to take command of the U.N. force and send 1,470 troops if the international community made a commitment to rebuild Haiti.
The resolution gives the U.N. mission a robust mandate under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter, which allows the use of military force if necessary.
The U.N. troops and police are authorized to support the transitional government “to ensure a secure and stable environment within which the constitutional and political process in Haiti can take place.”
International police are authorized to assist the government in restructuring and reforming the Haitian National Police, “consistent with democratic policing standards.” And the international police and U.N. troops are also authorized to assist the Haitian police in disarming, demobilizing and reintegrating “all armed groups.”
But less than half of Haiti’s 5,000 police have returned to their posts since Aristide fled, posing challenges for the transitional government that says it wants to reconcile Haiti’s divided population of 8.2 million.