BRASÍLIA, Brazil – Brazilian Army soldiers recently participated in a training exercise in which terrorists unleashed a chemical weapons attack during the Confederations Cup. The drill was part of security preparations leading to soccer tournament, which will be held from June 15-30. (Evaristo Sa/AFP)
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – The United Nations mission will remain in Haiti until “a national force can take over,” President Michel Martelly said on Sept. 13, despite public outrage over a sexual assault allegedly involving foreign troops.
Nine South American countries supply slightly more than 40 percent of the 12,200-personnel United Nations Stabilization Force in Haiti (MINUSTAH), although the nations want to cut numbers to the level used before last year’s devastating earthquake, around 9,000.
Martelly told reporters that the departure of international soldiers and police could occur only when the disaster-hit country can replace them.
“MINUSTAH is working for the people of Haiti...we are in need of order and peace to advance our economic development,” he said, noting that a new security plan would be drawn up if parliament approves his choice for prime minister.
The U.N. force was first deployed in 2004 to demobilize militias that had arisen after the Haitian army was disbanded following a coup. The mission has since provided security throughout political turbulence and the catastrophic Jan. 12, 2010 earthquake that killed an estimated 225,000 people.
MINUSTAH’s mandate expires on Oct. 15, at which point the U.N. Security Council will take up its future.
The force currently comprises 8,700 soldiers and 3,500 police.
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