UNITED NATIONS (AFP) – UN Security Council ambassadors will travel to Haiti later this month for a first-hand look at the political situation following a decision to draw down the UN mission there.
The visit from January 23 to 25 will be to assess prospects for stability in Haiti, which has been struggling since the fall of president Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 2004, Chilean Ambassador Cristian Barros Melet said Monday.
“The objective is to provide support to the Haitian process,” said the Chilean envoy, whose country holds this month s presidency of the 15-member council.
The council decided in October to extend the mandate of the UN mission in Haiti but cut its strength by more than half, from 5,000 troops to 2,370. The UN police contingent will remain unchanged at 2,601.
Argentina and Chile, which provide troops for the force, have expressed reservations over the cuts, warning that tensions are high over the failure to hold elections over the past three years.
Haitian President Michel Martelly last week signed a deal with parliamentary leaders to allow lawmakers to remain in office until elections are organized early next year.
Martelly has called for parliament to convene on January 12 to endorse the appointment of new Prime Minister Evans Paul who will be tasked with forming a government.