UN extends Haiti mission

Peacekeepers are given an eight month extension to crack down on criminal gangs.

    UN peacekeepers are battling criminal gangs in
    the slums of Port-au-Prince [Reuters]



    The agreement resulted from a compromise between the one-year  extension initially suggested by Peru and a group 25 donor countries, including the United States, Canada, Brazil, Britain and France, and the six months pushed by China, which does not have diplomatic ties with Port-au-Prince.


    Wang Guangya, China's ambassador to the UN, said that in the interest of consensus, he voted for the resolution, even though he would have preferred a six-month extension "in keeping with the general practice of UN peacekeeping operations".


    Citing progress on the security and reconstruction fronts in Haiti, Wang said: "It is necessary for the UN, MINUSTAH in particular, to respond to the changed situation by updating its mandate, reordering its priorities and readjusting its composition with a view to better meet the actual needs of the Haitian people."


    More than half of the impoverished Caribbean nation's 8.4 million people live on one dollar a day, according to UN officials.


    The resolution adopted on Thursday also directed MINUSTAH "to  continue the increased tempo of operations" in support of the Haitian national police against armed gangs "as deemed necessary to restore security, notably in Port-au-Prince."


    MINUSTAH, whose mandate began in 2004, and Haitian police launched a crackdown in late December on armed gangs which control some of the poorest neighbourhoods of the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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