More UN Troops For Haiti

NEW YORK, USA, January 31, 2007 – An additional 350 UN peacekeepers are set to begin joining their counterparts in Haiti by this week, UN officials announced yesterday.

The troop increase comes as the February 15th deadline for the UN’s Security Council to extend the mandate of its peacekeeping mission, known as MINUSTAH, looms.

The new soldiers are being brought in from Nepal and the full batch are expected to be deployed by early March. Force Commander Major General Carlos Albert Dos Santos Cruz, who himself is also new to his position, having started earlier this month, said the new soldiers will be used to help rid the famous Cité Soleil neighborhood of criminal gangs.

“I am determined to increase the pressure on the gangs who have been holding the innocent people of Haiti hostage for so long,” Dos Santos Cruz, was quoted by UN News as saying yesterday. “Our aim is to provide a safe and secure environment where people can live without fear.”

The Nepalese troops join 7,200 military personnel from 17 countries already serving in Haiti. Of these, 80 per cent come from nine Latin American countries.

Meanwhile, the World Bank yesterday announced it had approved US$28 million “to enhance economic governance and improve water and sanitation” in the poverty stricken nation.

“The Bank’s interim strategy supports the Haitian government’s efforts to strengthen governance and deliver quick and visible benefits to the Haitian people,” Caroline Anstey, World Bank Director for the Caribbean said in a statement. “Without good governance and improvements in basic services in both urban and rural areas, development will not fully take hold.” (Copyright