Haitian PM Rules Out Immediate Pullout Of UN Troops

PORT AU PRINCE, May 10 (BERNAMA-NNN-PRENSA LATINA) – Haitian Premier Laurence Lamothe has ruled out an immediate pullout of the UN peacekeeping troops known as MINUSTAH, until local forces are ready to take over.

“Once we increase our security forces, the number of MINUSTAH troops will gradually fall,” he said.

The Haitian Army, made up of some 8,000 men, was dissolved in 1994 by former President Jean Bertrand Aristide in the wake of numerous human rights violations and coups.

Lamothe also promised to beef up the police force in Haiti and resolve the previous military mutiny, according to local news agency Alterpresse.

Members of the disbanded Armed Forces of Haiti took over several former military barracks in the outskirts of the capital a few months ago, mainly in Demlas and Carrefour, and they have refused to leave despite repeated orders from the government.

They are demanding US$15 million in compensation for their losses since the demise of the Army 18 years ago.

However, when the government agreed to pay the sum, they rejected it and said they would only be satisfied when the Army is restored.

Haitian President Michel Martelly ordered in November last year the creation of a civilian committee in charge of reestablishing a military force.

Some US$95 million will be invested under the long term programme, with the establishment of the first contingent of 3,500 troops.

Haitian Police and MINUSTAH, with some 10,000 troops, are in charge of security tasks now.

MINUSTAH succeeded a Provisional Multinational Force authorised by the UN Security Council in February 2004 when then President Aristide was forced to leave the country.



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