US says withdrawing UN military from Haiti is good example

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The United States on Tuesday backed plans to shut down the UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti, saying this was a "strong example" of how missions should change to take account of the country's political situation. Washington is the largest contributor, paying 28.5 percent of the total budget.

The 15-member Security Council is due to vote on the USA -drafted resolution on Thursday.

UNITED NATIONS (AP) - The Security Council is set to wrap up the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Haiti by mid-October after more than 20 years, in recognition of "the major milestone" the country has achieved toward stabilization following recent elections.

The United States is now reviewing the U.N.'s 16 peacekeeping operations to assess costs and effectiveness and USA ambassador Nikki Haley told the council Tuesday that thanks to recent elections in Haiti "the political context is right" for a new and smaller mission.

"As the stabilization mission in Haiti draws down and the new mission gears up, the Haitian people will be set on the path of independence and self-sufficiency", U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley told council members. "It shows quite the contrary, that we can develop, change and adapt our activity to the situation on the field, while guided by the need to meet the aspirations of the people".

The closure of the US$346-million mission, recommended by U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres, comes as the USA looks to cut its funding to U.N. peacekeeping.

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The peacekeeping mission, one of the longest-running in the world and known as MINUSTAH, has been dogged by controversies, including the introduction of cholera to the island and sexual abuse claims. No money spent on United Nations work to advance the rule of law in Haiti will have its intended impact unless the organization models the accountability that is necessary to re-establish its credibility.

In 2016, Haiti again faced another natural catastrophe when Hurricane Matthew devastated the southern part of the Caribbean nation and killed hundreds. But the country has not had an armed conflict in years. United Nations troops are widely blamed for introducing cholera that has killed at least 9,500 people in Haiti since 2010. Haiti was free of cholera until 2010 when peacekeepers dumped infected sewage into a river.

Subsequently, more than 8,500 people died of the water-borne disease, which can cause severe diarrhea and vomiting, and hundreds of thousands more were sickened.

Deputy British U.N. Ambassador Peter Wilson said he was "gravely concerned" about the continued presence of cholera, as he announced Britain would give $600,000 to help with the response.

"China supports the recommendation by this Security Council and the Secretary General and hopes MINUSTAH withdraws in an orderly manner, while ensuring stability in Haiti", he said.