What's In Blue

Posted Thu 13 Oct 2011

Renewal of UN Mission in Haiti

The Council is scheduled to meet tomorrow (Friday, 14 October) to renew the mandate of the UN’s stabilisation mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) for a further 12 months, before it expires on 15 October. Council members met at expert level today for a final round of negotiations on the resolution and appeared hopeful that they would be able to reach agreement by end of day.

It seems that while there was agreement on the duration of the extension of the mission, negotiations on the size and composition of the Mission’s personnel appear to have been more difficult.

The Secretary-General’s report of 25 August on the UN’s mission in Haiti recommended that the Council extend MINUSTAH’s mandate for an additional year and approve recommendations on a “partial drawdown” of the Mission’s military and formed police capabilities. The report noted that with the winding down of large-scale humanitarian operations and the completion of the elections in Haiti, the need for the earlier increase in the Mission’s strength had decreased significantly. The Secretary-General recommended that the Council consider reducing the mission’s military strength by 1,600 personnel. The report further recommended a reduction of 1,150 formed police unit officers, taking into account that the additional post-earthquake surge was no longer required.

It seems that the key issue in negotiations has been the reduction in the number of military and police personnel. In particular, the on-going provision of engineering support seems to have been a controversial issue for some Council members.

It appears that some members were in favour of reducing the numbers beyond the Secretary-General’s recommendations. Others emphasised the need to continue a robust stabilisation force given the still fragile security situation in Haiti and suggested that further withdrawals, including with respect to the engineers, be postponed until next year. It appears that some members also questioned the wisdom of maintaining a large foreign stabilisation force in Haiti given that the country is not at war.

It seems there were also questions raised about whether the continued presence of large numbers of troops would be counter-productive and the effect this could have on the role of the Haitian Government and the Haitian National Police.

At press time it appeared that Council members were close to agreement and that the final mandate renewal would be in keeping with the report’s suggested reductions.

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