Haiti Wants To Build Army To Replace UN Peacekeepers

By Dialogo
November 01, 2011

Haiti plans to build a new military force to replace the UN mission in Haiti, even though no date has been set yet for the withdrawal of the peacekeeping force, Haitian Foreign Minister Laurent Lamothe said in Asuncion, Paraguay on October 28.

“We should have another security force of a military nature to back up the police,” the diplomat said at an Ibero-American summit being held in the Paraguayan capital.

Haiti, which is still rebuilding from a devastating earthquake in 2010 that left much of the capital in ruins and more than 220,000 dead, will have a 10,000-member police force as of November 18, Lamothe said.

However it will be at least two years before Haiti can assume control of internal security, he added.

“We have to assume responsibility for our security, and that’s why we are making security force ready for the day that MINUSTAH leaves,” he said, referring to the acronym by which the UN peacekeeping mission is known.

The Haitian government “has not set a date” for the departure of the UN troops, but wants to begin preparing for that day, he said.

Lamothe also called for direct foreign investment in Haiti, saying it does not want to be dependent on international aid.

On October 14, the UN Security Council ordered the peacekeeping force to be reduced in size by 2,750 to about 10,500 soldiers over the next year.