Brazil Says That Conditions Are Present in Haiti for Reduction in UN Troops

By Dialogo
September 20, 2011

Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota said that the conditions are present in Haiti to reduce the number of troops in the UN peace mission, which Brazil commands, to the level prior to the 2010 earthquake.

“The conditions are present for us to return to the level – the number of troops – prior to the earthquake,” Patriota said in an interview granted to the daily Folha de Sao Paulo and the internet news site UOL.

The Brazilian foreign minister, whose country commands the military force in Haiti, judged that the elections have demonstrated an “environment of stability” in the country.

The minister specified that the decision to reduce the number of troops “has not yet been made” and that a review of the UN mission’s mandate should be taken up by the Security Council in October, when the mission’s mandate ends.

The South American countries contributing troops to the mission agreed a week ago in Montevideo to recommend a gradual reduction, initially to the “number prior to the earthquake of January 12 of last year,” the Brazilian said.

Following the devastating earthquake, the peace forces increased from 9,000 members to 12,200. South American countries contribute somewhat over 40 percent of the military personnel of the force, in which Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Guatemala, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay participate.

The debate on the peace force’s future is taking place when UN soldiers in Haiti, already accused of having introduced cholera into the country, are again under fire for an alleged sexual assault on a Haitian youth by Uruguayan personnel.

Haitian President Michel Martelly affirmed that “the UN mission should remain in the country to await a national force that could replace it.”