[R-G] ANNAN ASKS US TO SEND TROOPS TO HAITI
fentona at shaw.ca
Wed Jun 29 23:55:10 MDT 2005
> Annan Makes Plea For Troops in Haiti
> By Colum Lynch
> Washington Post Staff Writer
> Thursday, June 30, 2005; A18
> UNITED NATIONS, June 29 -- United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan
> asked the United States this week to consider sending troops to Haiti
> to support a U.N. peacekeeping mission beset by mounting armed
> challenges to its authority, according to senior U.N. officials.
> Annan told Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in a meeting at U.N.
> headquarters Tuesday afternoon that he may have to ask for American
> "boots on the ground" in the coming months to reinforce more than
> 6,500 Brazilian, Chilean, Argentine and other peacekeeping forces
> serving in Haiti, the officials said.
> He expressed hope that the United States would participate in a
> planned U.N. rapid reaction force that would have the firepower to
> intimidate armed gangs threatening the country's fragile political
> transition. Officials said that similar requests are being considered
> for other countries, including Canada and France. "We want scarier
> troops," one senior U.N. official said.
> Annan told Rice that the Haitians "respect the U.S. military,"
> according to a senior U.N. diplomat familiar with the closed-door
> meeting. Annan added that the United Nations may make a formal request
> for troops later, the diplomat said.
> The plea from Annan comes weeks after Rice questioned the need for
> U.S. military intervention in Haiti, saying that it would be a
> "mistake" to abandon confidence in the ability of the Brazilian-led
> peacekeeping force to do the job. Rice provided Annan with no pledges
> of military support, officials said, but offered to help persuade
> France and Canada to contribute to the mission.
> Following the meeting, Annan's office made no specific mention of
> Annan's suggestion about U.S. troops. Instead, Annan's spokesman
> issued a statement saying that the U.N. chief had highlighted the
> "need for greater military support" for the U.N. mission during his
> talks with Rice.
> The Pentagon has been weighing a request from the U.S. ambassador to
> Haiti, James B. Foley, and other senior U.S. officials to present an
> American show of force in the troubled Caribbean island nation,
> according to U.S. officials. The officials, who said they were
> unauthorized to speak publicly on the issue, expressed concern that
> violence could spiral out of control, threatening the country's
> municipal and presidential elections scheduled for October and
> U.S. and U.N. officials have begun a series of preliminary discussions
> about a possible U.S. military role in Haiti, including the provision
> of logistical and intelligence support to the planned U.N. rapid
> reaction force, according to senior U.N. diplomats. But the diplomats
> said that the United States, which currently has only four military
> staff officers serving in the U.N. mission, has made no formal
> commitment to expand its military presence.
> The chief U.N. peacekeeping official, Jean-Marie Guehenno of France,
> declined to discuss the specifics of any military contacts with
> Washington. "At the moment, we are discussing a range of options," he
> said. "We don't exclude any options."
> The Bush administration sent U.S. troops into Haiti in March 2004 to
> halt an upsurge of violence that culminated in former Haitian
> President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's flight from Haiti. A Brazilian-led
> U.N. peacekeeping force replaced the United States as the country's
> chief guarantor of security.
> But the largely Latin American force has come under criticism for
> failing to respond aggressively enough to challenges from criminal
> gangs and other armed groups once linked to Aristide or to the
> country's business elites.
> In an effort to strengthen the mission, the Security Council adopted a
> resolution last week authorizing the creation of a 750-member rapid
> reaction force to respond to the violence in the months leading up to
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